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Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Live

Mike Jurkovic By

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Recorded by Flemish radio in Antwerp 2016 without the trio's knowledge, this accidental live disc not only delivers to followers of this long-lived Polish unit an essential live document, it washes over newcomers like a cresting baptismal wave that never stops cleansing the soul and senses.

Nearing thirty years as a unit—they also served as the late trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's adventurous rhythm section from 2001-2006)—the ability of pianist Marcin Wasilewski, double bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz to anticipate and activate each other's musical turns and temptations is a marvel to experience. Drawn largely from the trio's satisfyingly creative 2013 collaboration with saxophonist Joakim Milder, the music here is given greater freedom to evolve onstage. The trio has been exploring Jazz Police's "Message In A Bottle" since their inception, yet here it sounds startlingly new and fresh, with an unrelenting rhythm that somehow contains itself for the suite-like dream of "Three Reflections" before erupting again for the full locomotive energy of "Night Train to You."

Throughout these performances, Wasilewski's left hand toys effortlessly with thunder and the roiling sea, while his right, undeterred by such forces, revels in unrestrained melodicism—at once intense, mischievous, joyful, somber—very often within the space of the same measure. Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz may not step to the fore often, but they demand their space within the music. Where the rhythm section does showcase, on Herbie Hancock's "Actual Proof," they hold tight the original's jazz-funk while Wasilewski cartwheels around them.

Track Listing: Spark of Life; Sudovian Dance; Message In a Bottle; Three Reflections; Night Train to You; Austin; Actual Proof.

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

Title: Live | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ECM Records

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