Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Kamil Szuszkiewicz - Prolegomena (Slowdown Records, 2011) ****
In January last year I wrote my first review of some albums with Polish trumpeter Kamil Szuszkiewicz, already sensing that it would not be the last. We find him back as the leader of a full band and with a somewhat more ambitious programme. The band consists of Kuba Cichocki on piano, Tomasz Duda and Marcin Gañko on baritone saxophonen Wojciech Traczyk ion double bass and Marcin Ułanowski on drums.
Szuskiewicz's compositions and arrangements are really strong, with lots of variation and shifting between melancholy pieces for small ensemble ("Aria", "Pawana"), a pianoless quintet that bookends the album, using the warmth of the horns to the full, but it is when Cichocki's piano joins that the music gets its full dramatic power. The compositions are inventive and contain a wealth of clever rhythmic changes, great arrangements and a kind of inherent tension, with lots of a kind of stop-and-go feel.
All musicians are excellent, but what is really strong for a debut album is the coherent vision and sound, something special and unique that is captivating and enjoyable. If you need comparisons, then Darren Johnston and Kirk Knuffke come to mind, two trumpeters who also understand how to create complex music with substance.
Modern jazz at its best. I truly hope Kamil Szuszkiewicz gets audiences outside of Poland.
Listen to a promo sound trailer that compiles moments from various tracks.
Kamil Szuszkiewicz "Prolegomena" (trailer) by szuszkiewicz