Album reviews

Marcin Wasilewski Trio – ‘En attendant’

Marcin Wasilewski Trio – En attendant

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(ECM 2677. CD review by Mike Collins)

It’s twenty years since the Marcin Wasilewski Trio debuted with ECM, on the first of a series of albums with Tomasz Stańko. There have been half a dozen under their own name since then as well. The most recent, released in 2020, was a collaboration with Joe Lovano and this new release was recorded just before that session.

En attendant is a glistening jewel of a set. From that first recording with Stańko, there has been a fluidity and lyricism about the group sound, an ability to let textures and atmospheres develop without ever losing momentum or movement, and imagination and inventiveness to spare. This album distils the essence of that sound, and delivers a beautiful, well-paced suite of tunes that seems quintessentially the trio.

The seven pieces comprise three group improvisations sprinkled amongst an adaptation of Variation 25 from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, a version of the The Doors’ Riders On The Storm, and two tunes that also appear on that set with Joe Lovano, Carla Bley’s Vashkar and Wasilewski’s Glimmer of Hope.

The three improvisations, titled In Motion Parts 1, 2 and 3, are the instincts of the trio laid bare. A musical thought gets them moving and is invariably developed between them with the naturalness and narrative arc of a composed piece. In Part 1 the idea is the fragment of chordal motif in the upper register of the piano. Michał Miśkiewicz’s brushes on cymbals and a singing complementary note from Slawomir Kurkiewicz’s bass sets them on the path. For Part 2, Mieskiewicz’s drums lead the way in a muted but intense exchange of rhythms until a melodic swirl from the piano introduces more textures. In Part 3 what could have been a scripted meditative piano intro lands on a chord that triggers an elegaic, developing line from the bass. It’s thoughtful, atmospheric music on the fly.

The composed pieces vary, with plenty of moments of urgency and sitting on grooves with accumulating intensity driven by Miśkiewicz. Wasilewski’s glorious touch imbues each phrase with shape and emotion as he spools out tumbling lines, Kurkiewicz’s bass keeps bursting through with melodic flourishes and shapely solos.

The trio are on great form here, this set unmistakably their sound and a fine addition to their output.

Mike Collins is a pianist and writer based in Bath, who runs the jazzyblogman site. Twitter @jazzyblogman

LINK: En attendant is distributed in the UK by Proper. Release date 10 September 2021

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