This disc showcases an arresting programme by the Poland-born, New Zealand composer and pianist Michal Martyniuk. These are striking compositions swinging between the narrative and the lyrical, striking also in their capacity to shift between light and shade. The rhapsodic performance of the pianist constantly drives the musicians with grace and, at times, with fire. The pieces were largely composed after the pianist’s last album Nothing To Prove. The melodic lines of each sing and the harmonic language appears sophisticated and adventurous as the musicians appear to be constantly twisting and diving across the eight songs featured here.
Mr Martyniuk takes the music’s meandering complexities in his stride, creating the impression that all of this music-making comes radiantly naturally to him. His virtuoso flair is infectious and the rest of the ensemble responds with virtuoso flair as well. Although the tenor saxophonist is listed as being featured on “Mr Eady”, a vivid portrait of sorts, the entire cast of accompanying musicians also gives of themselves with sparkling flair as well. The high quality of Mr Martyniuk’s pianism is truly inspirational on “Jazz Dance: and “The Opening”. On both pieces he plays with silken tonal purity and sovereign command. The accompanying ensemble also responds to his clarion call matching his soundworld to a tee.
The high quality of musicianship is affecting and matched by the superb quality of the recording where all of the music is captured in commendably well-balanced sound by an engineer who listens to the musicians as if they were part of the ensemble.
Track list – 01: Jazz Dance; 02: Java Blues; 03: 7AM; 04: Awakening; 05: Mr Eady (Featuring Jakob Skowronski); 06: The Opening; 07: Good Bad News; 08: New Beginning
Personnel – Michal Martyniuk: piano; Jakub Skowroński: tenor saxophone; Kuba Mizeracki: electric guitar; Bartek Chojnacki: contrabass; Kuba Gudz: drums; Cameron McArthur: contrabass; Ron Samsom: drums
Released – 2019
Label – SJ Records (046)
Runtime – 54:24