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Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January

Dan McClenaghan By

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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), Suspended Night (ECM Records, 2004), and Soul of Things (ECM Records, 2002). Those of you familiar with Stanko's sound won't be surprised here. The first five cuts—compositions by Wasilewski, Gary Peacock, Ennio Morricone and Prince ("Diamonds and Pearls")—are like tranquil prayers, with drummer Michal Miskiewicz coloring the proceedings, Paul Motian-like, with soft pastels behind bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz' resting heartbeat and Wasilewski's succinct and slightly abstract piano approach.

The energy level rises up a couple of notches and gets a bit more prickly with the trio's take on Carla Bley's "King Korn," and stays there for Wasilewski's "The Cat." The title tune, "January," moves back to introspective side, a spare, wistful rumination, and "New York 2007" (the disc was recorded there and then, at Avatar studios) is a softly searching trio improvisation.

The three musicians are just entering their thirties, but with years of playing with Stanko under their belts they have developed a sound full of subtlety, finesse and understated beauty.

Track Listing: The First Touch; Vignette; Cinema Paradiso; Diamonds and Pearls; Balladyna; King Corn; The Cat; January; The Young and Cinema; New York 2007.

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

Title: January | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ECM Records

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