Does Personal Belongings live up to all the enticement of the pre-release tracks?

The Omer Klein trio, above, are quite melodic and improvise in a modern-mainstream fashion, in other words they paraphrase melody and construct easily discernible structures in the arc of their trio play. They don't do freak-outs, play massively …

Published: 18 Sep 2021. Updated: 39 days.

The Omer Klein trio, above, are quite melodic and improvise in a modern-mainstream fashion, in other words they paraphrase melody and construct easily discernible structures in the arc of their trio play. They don't do freak-outs, play massively dissonantly and in that sense are not avant-garde at all. Do not diss them for this. In fact don't diss them at all because there is a lot to like and appreciate unless you are an anti-melody-on-principle or a pretty-melody snob. Answer to the headline, I know you are on tenterhooks, does Personal Belongings live up to the promise of the pre-release tracks? Of course. But at the risk of pulling the rug from under me there was a track that I didn't warm to, perhaps put it down to sheer over-familiarity and that is 'What a Wonderful World' when the album goes too soft-centred. The solo stuff by contrast is one of the album's strong suits. Klein for instance on 'The Magnets' is tremendous but it's the trio stuff I warmed to even more whether on the vibrant middle-eastern sounding 'Baghdad Blues' or elsewhere. The mystical 'Najara' drawing on a liturgical Jewish inspiration remains an album highlight, again a piano solo piece that could even become an earworm after a few plays. Haggai Cohen Milo on double bass can be funky and gives a lot of tonal support. Amir Bresler meanwhile on drums is busy and needs to be given how florid an improviser Klein can be and how decorative the melodic lines are. 'Shake It' has a firm grip on riff and groove and very impressive it is too. The album version is even better than the live promo version circulating a few months back. The OKT rush to the top of my pre-croaking-it bucket list to hear live some day. SG. (Rated: 4/5) Out now on Warners

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Marcin Wasilewski trio, En attendant, ECM ****

Expect to wait a very long time for a record as deep and meaningful to come along. A very introspective record, and the Wasilewski trio can be very intense and private as a default setting, that is one of their strengths. In their world there are …

Published: 18 Sep 2021. Updated: 39 days.

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Expect to wait a very long time for a record as deep and meaningful to come along. A very introspective record, and the Wasilewski trio can be very intense and private as a default setting, that is one of their strengths. In their world there are no easy solutions, no cop-outs. Deeply filmic in a painterly sense Wasileswki does what Krzysztof Kieślowski, let alone Komeda did, to saturate the senses. The trio provide a vision that transports the imagination elsewhere. On a par with their greatest album to date which is Spark of Life the only track that doesn't quite work is the extensively refurbished Doors song 'Riders on the Storm' which is a mere bagatelle compared to the deepness everywhere else. Turn to the moving 'In Motion' tracks and linger long there instead. Is Wasilewski Europe's greatest living jazz pianist? It seems common sense, to say, at last, quite simply at this moment, yes. Michał Miśkiewicz, above left, Marcin Wasilewski, Sławomir Kurkiewicz