Metal Mind 2017
Elegant, if energetic, debut from the future of Polish jazz-rock.
Robert Szewczuga knows the value of time, whether he’s choosing a suitable tempo or waiting for the right moment to come to the fore, and it’s about time the bassist – previously blended into the background of more experienced musicians – delivered an album of his own. Hence “Moonrise”: a nocturnal and celestial suite the lad laid down in the company of keyboard player Michal Rorat and drummer Pawel Dobrowolski who helped him elevate brilliant ideas to spiritual level. Still, sophisticated as this work is, all of the tracks on offer are immediate in their melodic allure.
For all the muscularity applied to such soundscapes as “Landing” and “Trip” – the record’s opener and finale, taken, respectively, to an outer space by slivers of violin and anchored to the ground with Ghostman’s breezy vocals – there’s a delicate ripple running through the album to inform it with a sense of constant motion. As a result, what could be a metronomic exercise in romance will turn “13” into a progressive piece, instilled with scintillating piano yet unpretentious despite the gradually growing dynamic amplitude, while the slow, ska-kissed funk of “New-Old” gets off to effervescent fusion heights, with a little help from Fender Rhodes and whammy bar.
Given the range of Szewczuga’s five-string instrument, it’s hardly surprising that the nameless elegy behind “….” feels utterly lyrical, but the quietly triumphant “Victoria” is hiding soft riffs in the improvisatory flutter of its heart which would welcome a song in “The Middle Of Nothing” – wrapped in Robert’s elastic lines and Jarek Krużołek’s silken voice – while a well-tempered twang of “Bachllada” trembles on the edge of tango. More so, solo bass passages on the organ-oiled “Apo” serve as a launch pad for Apostolis Anthimos’ guitar figures to bounce out of before “Salseson” introduces sensual bossa nova to the flow as if to fully integrate young artist into respectable traditions of Polish jazz.
As long as musicians like this play in Rzeczpospolita, its music development will not be lost.