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The new stars of European jazz, the Marcin Wasilewski Trio tour Australia

One of Europe's finest piano trio, The Marcin Wasilewski Trio tour Australia as part of the Sydney and Perth Festivals. On Friday 29.1. they played at The Band Room, ANU School of Music, Canberra. The piano was a Bösendorfer.

This exceptional piano trio from Poland, with Marcin Wasilewski, piano, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, bass, and Michal Miskiewicz on drums, have honed their skills working with Poland's iconic trumpet star Tomasz Stanko. For some years now, recording on the prestigious ECM record label, they have emerged in their own right at the forefront of the European jazz scene.

Marcin Wasilewski's feathery touch on piano, combined with slow transitions and subtle interaction between players creates a bewitching sound, balanced, complex and delicate. Indeed this Polish piano trio is an intricately cohesive unit with real ensemble playing .

Their eclectic repertoire includes music by Prince, Carla Bley, Björk, Gary Peacock, Tomasz Stanko, Ennio Morricone as well as original compositions by Wasilewski.

The Marcin Wasilewski Trio comprised Marcin Wasilewski (piano), Slawomir Kurkiewicz (bass) and Michal Miskiewicz (drums).                      (Photo: Eric Pozza)

The Marcin Wasilewski Trio comprised Marcin Wasilewski (piano), Slawomir Kurkiewicz (bass) and Michal Miskiewicz (drums). (Photo: Eric Pozza)

Marcin Wasilewski: A player who feels every key

Eric Pozza visited their concert in the Band Room of the ANU School of Music, Canberra. Here some excerpts of his impressions he wrote down for the Canberra Jazz blog:

" .... I last heard this band when they appeared as the backing trio for Thomas Stanko a few years ago at a private embassy gig here in Canberra. This time, they were touring for Sydney and Perth Festivals, and presenting their individual piano trio voice. It’s formal and considered, and despite a few pop tunes, is in the mainstream of modern European playing. I think Keith Jarrett and to a lesser extent, Dave Holland, when I hear them, and they played tunes by Keith Jarrett, offsider Gary Peacock and Carla Bley. But they also played Prince and they’ve recorded Bjork’s Hyperballad, so partaking of a current theme of reinventing the standards repertoire with a new generation of popular tunes. I like all this. And I liked the band, very much. I wasn’t the only one.

Marcin Wasilewski was richly harmonic on piano, free to move through keys and dissonances, but disciplined and tempered in his approach to the keyboard and his fine little melodic lines. I noticed later in the night, as the volume lifted and there was a bit more abandon, that he was disappearing under the drums, so he’s presumably not a loud player. He’s more a player who feels every key. Not to say there were no dynamics (there were) but they were circumscribed.

The School of Music is a school within the Faculty of Arts of the Australian National University. It encompasses Brass, Composition, Ethnomusicology, Guitar, Jazz, Musicology, Percussion, String, Voice and Woodwind dep

The School of Music is a school within the Faculty of Arts of the Australian National University. It encompasses Brass, Composition, Ethnomusicology, Guitar, Jazz, Musicology, Percussion, String, Voice and Woodwind dep

Slawomir Kurkiewicz played a Czech-Ease travel bass with those soft Velvet strings for good, solid modern syncopated lines and just one walk that I noted during the night. It was close rhythmic playing with the piano, with a few very good solos, but I particularly noticed the reliable intonation. Perhaps it’s evidence of more classical training.

Michal Miskiewicz was using borrowed drums, and I found some of the tom tones to be a bit woolly, but he played with consistently changing rhythms and again a closeness with the others. To me, it was this closeness that was the highlight. Rhythms that moved through the players, in contrast or in sympathy, with that underlying syncopation from the bass. It wasn’t clearly swinging, although I guess there was some swing there, but more patterns of dotted notes and straight triplets and quavers that hinted of the classical charts I only attempt to sight read. Tunes and improvisations that display a Western classically-informed conception of how to place notes in time to form melody... "
Eric Pozza, canberrajazz.net

(rulö)
(Photocredits: Masgatotkaca, Eric Pozza)