Joachim Mencel: Brooklyn EyeBy
Brooklyn Eye is the fulfillment of Mencel's strong and long-held desire to gather a dream team to record his American-influenced, modernistic originals in New York. Enlisting guitarist Steve Cardenas, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Rudy Royston, and serving up a slate of tunes penned at various points over the course of his career, this pianist proves to be both mighty and malleable. Opener "I'm Yo Man," powered by Royston's muscular drumming and featuring strength on strength, is a head-on hit. "The Things," which winks at a familiar standard implied by its title, is a beautifully communicative cross-threading of ideas, melodies and personalities. "Full Immersion" bathes in rubato waters, alternately speaking to pellucid purity and a narrative surrounding scurrying and/or sweeping tides. And "Arrowsic," written during Mencel's stay in the titular Maine town some two decades ago, offers harmonic openness and a beautiful view of Colley's clear-headed soloing.
While Mencel's piano and pen are, obviously, central to this effort, his use of hurdy-gurdya hand-crank-operated string instrument (or wheel fiddle, to be more concise and visually on point)also helps to define the sound of the project. Whether offering a Mediterranean tinge to "Two Pieces with Beatrice," injecting a sense of mysticism rooted in the Middle East into "Psalm 88" or bringing folkish charms to the fore during a duo dalliance with Cardenas on "Photosynthesis," Mencel's work with that instrument adds volumes to the music while also exploring avenues of sound and meaning that are largely ignored.
In seeing his dream through, Joachim Mencel has created an album of tremendous depth, passion and promise that speaks to the liberties that he's always admired in America, its non-proprietary strains of jazz and the musicians who make it. Brooklyn Eye, simply put, has a wide-open gaze on possibility.
I'm Yo Man; The Things; Two Pieces with Beatrice; Full Immersion; Photosynthesis; Arrowsic; Come Holy Spirit; Psalm 88; The Last of the Mohicans; Pelican.
Joachim Mencel: piano; Steve Cardenas: guitar; Scott Colley: bass; Rudy Royston: drums.
Title: Brooklyn Eye | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Origin Records
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About Joachim Mencel
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