All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

170

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful

Greg Simmons By

Sign in to view read count
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 stand out and be heard, Faithful will surely find an audience.

Pianist m: Marcin Wasilewski piano with a delicate hand and an almost vocal melodic quality. He eschews pyrotechnic arpeggios in favor of a balanced, chord-driven aesthetic. When he does solo, he works with a sleek fluidity that is integrated with the music, rather than floating over it. His performance is very satisfying to hear.

Bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz provide a firm rhythmic foundation for the music, adding interest with imaginative playing throughout. They are not on this date to simply provide a beat. "Big Foot" opens with the piano and bass doubling the intro, before the piano recedes to allow the bass to make a statement. Even so, the instruments are blended, with the piano close at hand. It's a device that lets the complete arrangement make forward progress while allowing the individuals a bit of spotlight. The track also features some truly inventive drumming, notably incorporating consistent use of toms, snare, cymbals and kick drum, but with a strikingly well-built, light-touch articulation that compliments the song to a tee.

The slower titles, including the title track, are lush without being florid, demonstrating gracefully lean compositions that still incorporate the full range and force of the instruments at hand. On "Ballad Of The Sad Young Men," Wasilewski sticks with a two-handed delivery, using the bass weight of the left hand to comp the melody of the right. Meanwhile, the drums, played with brushes, continue to develop a range of sounds and effects. Not satisfied to simply swirl his brushes on the heads, Miskiewicz taps the sides of his cymbals and thwacks the rims to ensure an engaging performance on what could easily have been a drummer's dead end.

Of course, being on the ECM label, a high level of sonic excellence is to be expected. Every album should capture instruments this well, and with this level of spaciousness.

This trio has been playing together in various iterations for over two decades and it shows, with the kind of sympathetic, telepathic interplay between the musicians that can only be mastered over time. With Faithful, Marcin Wasilewsi Trio present a well-crafted, engaging, and simply beautiful album.

Track Listing: An den kleinen Radioapparat; Night Train To You; Faithful; Mosaic; Ballad Of The Sad Young Man; Oz Guizos; Song for Świrek; Woke Up In The Desert; Big Foot; Lugano Lake.

Personnel: Marcin Wasilewski: piano; Slawomir Kurkiewicz: double-bass; Michal Miskiewicz: drums.

Title: Faithful | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Spark of Life

Spark of Life

ECM Records
2014

buy
Faithful

Faithful

ECM Records
2011

buy
January

January

ECM Records
2008

buy
Trio

Trio

ECM Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Get Up And Go" CD/LP/Track Review Get Up And Go
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Double Down" CD/LP/Track Review Double Down
by James Nadal
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Long Haul" CD/LP/Track Review Long Haul
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Groovin' Hard: Live at the Penthouse 1964-1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin' Hard: Live at the Penthouse 1964-1968
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Back to the Sunset" CD/LP/Track Review Back to the Sunset
by Patrick Burnette
Published: March 28, 2018