Jakub Klimiuk Quintet, (un)balanced ****

l-r Simeon May, Adam Merrell, Jakub Klimiuk, Kinzan, Cody Moss. Thrilling, pun intended: the first thing you hear on (un)balanced is the trilling of saxophonist Simeon May on the very brief call-to-listen opening snippet track 'Study 1.' …

Published: 15 Feb 2024. Updated: 45 days.

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l-r Simeon May, Adam Merrell, Jakub Klimiuk, Kinzan, Cody Moss.

Thrilling, pun intended: the first thing you hear on (un)balanced is the trilling of saxophonist Simeon May on the very brief call-to-listen opening snippet track 'Study 1.'

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Mark Lockheart, above - the Perfect Houseplants and Polar Bear legend is a guest on (un)balanced. Photo: Edition

Then on 'Illusion' it's the majestic sound of Polar Bear legend Mark Lockheart who guests on two tracks of startlingly accomplished newcomer electric guitarist Jakub Klimiuk's album. (Mark's own 12-piece album Smiling incidentally is out on 29 March.) Klimiuk's solo on the same track is full of a jazz-rock swagger landing in a Phil Robson type of sound and very convincing it is too. Later, sexagenarian Lockheart pops up pitting his fabulously throaty sound against the drums of relative whippersnapper age-wise Adam Merrell in an invigorating free-jazz Interstellar Space-type workout, the sort of sound popularised in recent years by Binker and Moses.

Overall beyond the sturm und drang you get far more a monastic sense of being in the woodshed up close and personal hearing stuff develop by the incorporation of these ''study'' tracks but not just these. There's also an ''acoustic'' guitar side to the album on a track like 'Wait' where Klimiuk is more in the territory a player like Tom Ollendorff, boffin of the pristine new-melodic, likes to explore and where May's soloing is more fully fledged.

Dive into Klimiuk's EP from last year Reluctance above first with the same line-up for a good taster of what to expect on the new album out in May

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Who is this Klimiuk chappie I hear you ponder? Polish born, from Gdańsk, the spiritual home of Solidarity, the independent trade union illegal at the time that inspired so many of us teenagers struck by the sheer bravery and rightness of the cause on the flickering TV screens in the 1980s when Lech Wałęsa, future president of the nation, and the shipyard workers rose up against the undemocratic regime of the day, he studied at the Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music in the Baltic seaport and graduated from London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama last year.

'Study 2' gives us a chance to hear a little fragment of sublimated, carefully hinted at only but essentially veering towards Jason Moran-like stride piano by way of James P. Johnson from Cody Moss. Highlights also include bassist Kinzan (aka Harry Pearce)'s subtle accompaniment on the ballad 'Dualism' and his veritably dancing comping to Moss' engaged piano line on 'Wait.' The Jakub Klimiuk Group, top. Photo: press. Gigs coming up incude the Vortex, London on 1 May

07.03.24 'Sceptical' Spotify link added

Tags: reviewson the rise

Introducing Udsyn - ahead of the Copenhagen band's striking new single

note: updated on 1 March with 'Det varer ikke ved' now added We can't confess to having heard of Copenhagen band Udsyn before listening to the track 'It Won't Last' ('Det varer ikke ved' in Danish) which is out in March. It's frustrating not …

Published: 14 Feb 2024. Updated: 51 days.

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  • note: updated on 1 March with 'Det varer ikke ved' now added

We can't confess to having heard of Copenhagen band Udsyn before listening to the track 'It Won't Last' ('Det varer ikke ved' in Danish) which is out in March. It's frustrating not being able to share it - and we did something we never do, presave the track on Spotify on listening. The knowledge of this is like something burning a hole in your pocket. Ah well, it's only a fortnight away.

The 'It Won't Last' track has a poignant piano line, a very hooky melody worthy of something on a Hania Rani recording however much contained in the piano line punctuated later by guitar and bass, and works on so many levels. It isn't generic at all but while relatable to us certainly as jazz listeners it has a lot of other language fed into it that puts it more in an indie/prog domain.

Now on the splendidly entitled Blikflak label who championed early Svaneborg Kardyb - an outfit we are very keen on here we haven't been as taken by a Danish band even on the slim pickings heard so far since hearing Girls in Airports for the first time back in 2012. Note Danish jazz hero of ours Jakob Bro follows a completely different sound and can't really be compared to what's here - Udsyn aren't anything like a typical ECM band at all.

So delving into what Udsyn are about - the band name in English refers to a ''view'' in the sense of ''outlook'' - we went back and listened to some of their earlier work, copied above from 2022 released on the Gateway label and mighty fine it is too, a bit prog, a bit shoegazer, a bit electronica, a bit naive… a bit original and certainly with a jazz relatability stamped through it like a stick of seaside rock. But the new track is a step on. Band members are guitarist Viktor Ravn who is prominent in the more improvisatory type solo forays sometimes (yep, that's him all over the shapeshifting 'Cafe Viktor'), drummer Marco Ceglarek who keeps a fairly unobtrusive but pacey presence in the groove, pianist Ole Røndal Kjeldsen, bassist Johan Kjær Houver and crucially synth player Morten Heide. A pity that Udsyn aren't playing at the Sounds of Denmark showcase next month. Would be great to hear them live asap.