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Friday, March 31, 2023

Artur Majewski - Day 2 - Izumi Kimura, Artur Majewski, Barry Guy & Ramon Lopez - Kind Of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj, 2022) & Kind Of Shadow (Fundacja Słuchaj, 2022)

By Stef Gijssels

We find Polish trumpeter Artur Majewski back in this fantastic quartet with Izumi Kimura on piano, Barry Guy on bass and Ramon Lopez on drums and percussion. All four performed at the Ad Libitum Festival in 2021 in Poland, and the label invited them to stay a little longer and get together in the studio for some improvisations. This took place on October 17, 2021 at Agnieszka Osiecka Polish Radio Concert Hall, Warsaw. 

What was originally planned for one CD, eventually turned into two, because in fact all the material was of such quality that it deserved to be shared with interested audiences. 

Izumi Kimura is possibly less known to our readers than the other three musicians. She started playing the piano at four, got her degree of classical piano in Tokyo before moving to Ireland where she now resides. Her interest in modern improvisation led her to invite both Barry Guy and Gerry Hemingway to work together, which resulted in a trio album "Illuminated Silence" also released by Fundacja Słuchaj, after which the trio toured around Europe.

The collaboration between these four musicians is like magic. Especially Lopez (listen to him!) and Guy drive the music to unexplored territories, and Kimura and Majewski take the invitation for the journey with pleasure and grace, adding their personal sounds and giving voice to the direction taken. Some pieces allow for duo expansions, as on the interesting dialogue between Kimura and Guy on "Part Five" or "Part Three" which is performed by Lopez and Majewski. 

Because it is so excellent, it is truly no surprise that the rest of the recording was also released on a separate CD. "Kind Of Shadow" offers another eleven relatively short improvisations, around four to eight minutes long. On the opening track, Kimura leads the piece, and it is welcoming, gentle, slow, beautiful, setting the scene for the next track, now started by Majewski but in the same subdued and intimate style. Here too, some of the improvisations are duets, such as "Part Four", an intense piece for piano and drums, or "Part Six" for piano and trumpet, "Part Eight" for bass and drums. 

The amazing thing is that despite the identical line-up and the same day recording, both albums truly stand  in stark contrast to each other. "Kind Of Light" is fiercer, more direct, more adventurous and exploratory while "Kind Of Shadow" is gentler, slower, calmer, more subdued, and with a more generous role for the piano. 

Both are easy to recommend. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp: here and here