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Marcin Wasilewski Trio w/ Joakim Milder: Spark of Life

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What do you do when you've released three albums as a trio (more, if you include albums released in Poland, prior to coming to the label) for a producer who traditionally seems to like shaking things up after that magic number? For Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski and his longstanding trio--first coming together in their teens, they've been together more than two decades, and first recorded for ECM with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko for a triptych of evolutionary albums that began with 2002's Soul of Things and concluded with the far maturer Lontano (2006)--there have been two moves in 2014: first, show ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio with Joakim Milder: Spark of Life

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At about the same time Louis Armstrong was “inventing" modern improvised jazz--Poland was already immersed in a jazz tradition that included American influences and an ethnic take on swing. Despite bouts with repressive regimes that sent jazz underground, Poland continued to be a progressive haven for the form. Through the 1950s and 1960s pianist/composer Krzysztof Komeda developed a unique and influential European style of music with free jazz elements. Particularly influenced by Komeda was trumpeter Tomasz Stanko who worked extensively with him before fronting his own quintet and making his own indelible imprint on jazz. Both artists left their mark ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful

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The Marcin Wasilewski Trio's Faithful makes its entry as one of the better albums of 2011 to date, with a selection of original titles that are melodic, highly sophisticated and thoroughly enjoyable. The piano trio--piano, bass and drums--is one of jazz's cornerstone ensembles. As such--and with perhaps thousands of albums recorded in this instrumental combination--the standards of excellence are very high. There is no reason to ever listen to a mediocre piano trio record, because surely there is a truly outstanding one close at hand. To the extent that an entry into this category needs to excel to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful

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In a parallel universe, it would be interesting to hear the music of a Marcin Wasilewski Trio that hadn't come under the influence of its mentor, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. Without him, they surely would have become an accomplished and synergistic group. But in this universe, Wasilewski's trio began recording with their countryman on Soul of Things (ECM, 2002), going on to join him on Suspended Night (ECM, 2004), and the stunningly gorgeous Lotano (ECM, 2006). The experience with Stanko most assuredly has shaped the trio's patience of approach--the Polish melancholy, the slow unfolding of subtle, shimmering, often abstract beauty--in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful

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Over the course of the past decade, the members of pianist Marcin Wasilewski's trio have been growing in the public eye, first as trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's young Polish quartet on a trio of albums culminating in Lontano (ECM, 2008), and then, in the case of pianist Wasilewski and bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz, through a collaboration with Manu Katche on two of the drummer's ECM releases, including Playground (2007). But before all that attention, Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz were Simple Acoustic Trio--later, settling on their current moniker--and concurrent with their work as Stanko and Katché sidemen, have released a couple ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Marcin Wasilewski Trio at Birdland, NYC

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The Marcin Wasilewski TrioBirdlandNew York City, New YorkMay 20, 2008 Pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz, and drummer Michal Miskiewicz have been together since they were teenagers fifteen years ago. Over that time, they've put out a few albums locally in Poland and then were fortunate enough to be recommended to sub for the rhythm section scheduled to play with the legendary trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. Immediately recognizing their talent both individually and collectively, Stanko took them under his wing, recording as a quartet three highly acclaimed ECM albums --Soul of Things ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January

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From the first notes of the beautiful and seductive January, two things are immediately evident-- that the piano trio, now named after its pianist Marcin Wasilewski, is making a true statement of purpose, and that this recording is an arrival achieved through sound, primarily Wasilewski's rapturous sound. Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiwicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz have been together since 1993, and were noticed by trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. Over the course of time, they have released three highly acclaimed ECM albums with Stanko--Soul of Things (2002), Suspended Night (2004) and Lontano (2006)--plus their own album, simply named Trio ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January

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With January, pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz step out of the benign shadow of their mentor, trumpeter Tomasz Stanko--on whose Soul Of Things (ECM, 2001), Suspended Night (ECM, 2003) and Lontano (ECM, 2005) they were featured accompanists--and confirm the mighty promise of their international solo debut, Trio (ECM, 2005).

Stanko's absence, felt from time to time on Trio, is noticed no more. On January--an album of warm and glowing lyric beauty which belies any chilly connotations suggested by its title--the trio are complete in themselves.

Appropriately, the disc heralds a re-branding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January

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Listening to “The First Touch," the opening cut on the Marcin Wasilewski Trio's disc, January, is like slipping into a shimmering dream. The piano trio's sound is gentle, drifting and contemplative. Space is a factor, as is intricate three-way interplay. The music fits into the much written of “ECM Records aesthetic"--a sound not too far from that of the Tord Gustavsen Trio or Bobo Stenson-- ECM roster mates--but a long way down the line from the sonic aggression of Trio Beyond.Wasilewski trio's highest profile has come from three CDs with Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, Lontano (ECM Records, 2006), ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January

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They've gone under a number of names but, regardless of the moniker, this Polish piano trio--first gaining international exposure with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, with whom they still work--has been working together for fifteen years. Stanko's Soul of Things (ECM, 2001) brought them the attention they deserved, but most remarkable has been their rapid growth, with Trio (ECM, 2005) making it abundantly clear that pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz are an uncannily simpatico trio, as they now enter their early thirties.

With an evolving intuitiveness and liberal approach that's been documented on Stanko's increasingly open-ended Suspended ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Michal Miskiewicz: Trio

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Trio is shorthand for pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz, and drummer Michal Miskiewicz, the talented Polish rhythm section that has backed trumpeter Tomasz Stanko on his last two ECM albums. This is the group's first domestic release sans Stanko, but the trio sustains intriguing atmospheres throughout.

It's tempting to invoke another longstanding ECM piano trio when describing this one. But while the level of group interaction reminds the listener of Keith Jarrett's work, in eschewing the blues in both form and feel, Trio is more in the lineage of Bill Evans.

There is a ruminative ...

INTERVIEWS

Marcin Wasilewski: From Simple Acoustic Trio to Tomasz Stanko

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While there seems to be an unprecedented number of young jazz musicians releasing recordings under their own names these days, one of the long-held foundations of the jazz tradition seems to be taking a back seat; specifically, the nurturing of young talent through the tutelage of older, more established musicians seems to be turning into a thing of the past. And that's a shame, because while there are certainly a number of young artists who have managed to emerge as strong and independent players in their own right, the chance to learn on the bandstand from artists who have been ...



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