2019 Highlight: Kuba Więcek trio, Multitasking, Warner Poland

A sharp, short shock of an album, plenty of spare almost punkish energy from the sax-bass-drums trio to it, not to forget an array of little surprises coming along the way, with some artful electronics and the tinkle of glockenspiel dubbing in. Far …

Published: 26 Dec 2019. Updated: 2 years.

A sharp, short shock of an album, plenty of spare almost punkish energy from the sax-bass-drums trio to it, not to forget an array of little surprises coming along the way, with some artful electronics and the tinkle of glockenspiel dubbing in.

Far from a conventional jazz group, yet the overall concept factors in the space and virtuosity of contemporary jazz and even detours for a spot of ingenious konnakol on ‘Jazz Masala’.

Their second album — the band reminds me a little of the kind of group Pete Wareham finds himself in post-Polar Bear, or Roller trio — follows on from the award-winning Another Raindrop released two years ago.

Kuba Więcek is a subtle soloist and on a track like ‘Me and My Present Reason’ shows plenty of variety and his consummate ease as a leader.

Polish star pianist Marcin Masecki crops up as a guest on the puckish ‘Jazz Robots,’ another reason, along with the Django Bates-like whistling, to check out this most intriguing and lively of albums.

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2019 Highlight: Dominic Miller, Absinthe, ECM

When Sting guitarist Dominic Miller was first signed to ECM I must confess a sharp intake of breath. Nowadays on his second release for the label, a Mediterranean baked wistful affair, it just seems so obvious. Manu Katché on drums adds beef to …

Published: 26 Dec 2019. Updated: 2 years.

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When Sting guitarist Dominic Miller was first signed to ECM I must confess a sharp intake of breath.

Nowadays on his second release for the label, a Mediterranean baked wistful affair, it just seems so obvious.

Manu Katché on drums adds beef to the mix which includes the gorgeously evocative bandoneon of Santiago Arias. Miller has plenty of personality up front, the bass of Nicolas Fiszman laidback enough to give him room while Mike Lindup’s spacey keyboards do not intrude.

Recorded in a French studio a year ago tracks are kept quite short, at just under six minutes tops, all the tunes are Miller’s and they fall into what I’d call Metheny pastoral, nothing too twee or sweet but certainly provided with enough melodicism to tug the heartstrings. All in all? A really pleasant album that grows on every play and shows Miller’s writing as much as his superlative playing touch in the very best light. SG

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