Wasilewski_trio_span3
June 2005

Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, and Michal Miskiewicz
Trio
ECM Records

Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko discovered pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz in 1993, when they were teenagers. They've been touring and recording with Stanko ever since. It is an odd sight, watching Stanko, an elder statesman of European jazz, front a very good band of young and preternaturally gifted Poles with wide, blank faces and closely cropped hair. Stanko's peers must have wondered if he found his own Musical Village of the Damned somewhere in the backwoods of Poland.

On Trio, Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz reach international audiences for the first time without the cover of Stanko's cantankerous low-register grumbling and unearthly wails. The three lose a measure of tumult minus the old man, but they still display the same uncanny balance, precision and delicate expression they've brought to Stanko's music. In his dancing melodic lines, Wasilewski betrays some Keith Jarrett influence. (If you turn the volume up high enough, you can even hear him croak a little.) Miskiewicz is all quiet rumbles, shuffling textures and pared-down beats. And Kurkiewicz holds the music together with rhythmically charged pulses and jumped octaves. The trio covers both Bjork ("Hyperballad") and Stanko ("Green Sky" from the trumpeter's Makta Joanna), though the bulk of the recording is given to hushed collective improvisation and Wasilewski's originals.

Originally published in June 2005
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