345

Darek Oleszkiewicz: Like a Dream

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz, who prefers to go by the abbreviated moniker Oles, has gradually been establishing a name for himself on the West Coast scene over the past decade, playing on notable recordings by artists including Dianne Reeves, Jackie Ryan and Charles Lloyd. Now, with his Cryptogramophone d'but as a leader, Like a Dream , he sheds a spotlight on his compositional skills. On a programme of eleven originals and one standard, Oles demonstrates a style that crosses a number of musical boundaries much like Eric von Essen, who came before him in the LA scene and figures prominently in Oles' work.

The album presents Oles in three different and contrasting contexts. First is a series of duets with pianist Brad Mehldau. While there is the inevitable lineage to Scott LaFaro and Bill Evans, Oles also combines a certain economy of style that is reminiscent of Charlie Haden. Oles and Mehldau seamlessly shift between being drivers and passengers on what are the most mainstream compositions of the album. Oles' tone, while woody like Haden's, also has a certain Gary Peacock-like edge to it. Mehldau displays the contrapuntal style he has become known for, with left and right hands sometimes playing call-and-response, other times playing independent lines that inevitably cross paths and come together into a common theme. Oles' compositions are lyrical and immediately memorable. One wonders if his inclusion of the Raye/DePaul standard "You Don't Know What Love Is" is to simply give context to Oles' compositions, which are fresh, while at the same time oddly familiar.

Two pieces by Oles' longstanding cooperative, the L.A. Jazz Quartet, place him in a clearly comfortable ensemble setting. Oles aside, the star of this group is guitarist Larry Koonse, who, with a warm and elegant style that is similarly spare, contributes heartfelt accompaniment and solo work on the tender ballad "Precious Moments." The folksy 5/4 "Before the Journey" is an aptly-titled, strongly visual piece that hints at Americana without being blatant. Oles' solo is remarkably singable considering the register of his instrument; a characteristic, in fact, of most of his work.

The programme closes with five tracks that feature pianist Adam Benjamin and drummer Nate Wood, with reedman Bennie Maupin guesting on "Conclusion Part Two," another folk-tinged piece that is the most outgoing piece of the album. "Conclusion Part One" and "Conclusion Part Three" are darker, more introspective pieces, as is the melancholy "That Night." Oles shows his abilities as a thoughtful accompanist who, while occasionally unpredictable, always keeps a strong pulse.

Oles may not be a secret on the LA scene, but he is less well-known on larger national and international stages. With Like a Dream he proves that he has what it takes, as a performer and composer, to reach the next level; once again the adventurous Cryptogramophone label brings a deserving artist to a broader public.

Track Listing: November; You Don't Know What Love Is; Like a Dream; Time Cafe; Blues for Eden; Precious Moments; Before the Journey; Gift; That Night; Conclusion Part One; Conclusion Part Two; Conclusion Part Three

Personnel: Darek Oles (bass)
Brad Mehldau (piano on "November," "You Don't Know What Love Is," "Like a Dream," "Time Caf?," "Blues for Eden")
The L.A. Jazz Quartet (on "Precious Moments," "Before the Journey"): Chuck Manning (saxophones), Larry Koonse (guitar), Mark Ferber (drums)
Bennie Maupin (tenor saxophone on "Conclusion Part II"), Adam Benjamin (piano on "The Gift," "That Night," "Conclusion Part I," "Conclusion Part II," "Conclusion Part III), Nate Wood (drums on "The Gift," "That Night," "Conclusion Part I," "Conclusion Part II," "Conclusion Part III)

Title: Like a Dream | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Cryptogramophone

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
Transoceanico
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019
Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019