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Album Review

Marcin Wasilewski Trio, Joe Lovano: Arctic Riff

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Marcin Wasilewski Trio,  Joe Lovano: Arctic Riff
The Marcin Wasilewski Trio is amongst the most evident and high-profile jazz groups that roam the Polish scene. Celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary playing together only last year, the ensemble is widely renowned for challenging the piano trio and broadening its sound. Having collaborated with luminary wind players such as Jan Garbarek, Arthur Blythe and John Surman, the trio have now set their aspirations on performing with fellow ECM giant, Joe Lovano. Lovano made his debut with the record label back in 1981 performing on Paul Motian's Psalm and since then has gone onto record with John Abercrombie, Marc Johnson and Steve Kuhn.

The opening track on Arctic Riff is a ballad named "Glimmer of Hope," composed by Marcin Wasilewski. He describes it as being, "based mainly on one motive moving through some tonalities. I was very curious to hear how it would sound with Joe's tone." Each note and chord underlines careful precision with passionate melodic navigation. Drummer Michał Miśkiewicz's meticulous playing resembles the ingenious work of Carmen Castaldi that tied together so greatly Lovano's efforts with Marilyn Crispell on Trio Tapestry (ECM Records, 2019).

A laudable rendition of Carla Bley's "Vashkar" is next in line. After first hearing it on Footloose! (Savoy Records, 1964) by the Paul Bley Trio, Wasilewski said, "I really like Carla's compositions, and I wanted to play 'Vashkar''s beautiful melody with Joe." This piece seems fitting for such guest to perform, Lovano was once a member of Carla Bley's band during 1983.

In order to make a contrast to the compositions that Wasilewski put forward, Lovano composed a piece titled, "On the Other Side." Carefully structured, this track begins with Michał Miśkiewicz on drums imposing an opening theme followed by a question-and-answer conversation between Lovano and the trio.

In an engaging and gratifying performance where leading figures of two nations that have given us an array of sonic pleasure over the past decades, Arctic Riff showcases the epitome of great success that ECM presents.

Track Listing

Glimmer Of Hope; Vashkar; Cadenza; Fading Sorrow; Arco; Stray Cat Walk; Lamour Fou; A Glimpse; Vashkar (var.); On The Other Side; Old Hat.

Personnel

Marcin Wasilewski: piano; Slawomir Kurkiewicz: bass, acoustic; Michal Miskiewicz: drums; Joe Lovano: saxophone.

Album information

Title: Arctic Riff | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: ECM Records

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