Published on London Jazz News
A travelogue of refined chamber jazz, acoustic guitarist Maciek Pysz‘s new release A Journey meanders, eddies and dances afresh to European jazz and world/folk atmospheres.
Debut recording Insight (2013) introduced the mastery and precision of Pysz’s technique. Since then, the Polish-born, self-taught guitarist/composer (now based in London) has toured regularly, building and shaping this collection of eleven originals, plus one arrangement, which reflect both his passage as a maturing musician and his impressions of cosmopolitan encounters with cultures, places and people. Joining him again are renowned colleagues Yuri Goloubev (double bass) and Asaf Sirkis(drums/percussion), whilst also welcoming the evocative Mediterranean timbres ofDaniele di Bonaventura‘s bandoneon, as well as his pianistic colour.
Across the album’s 68-minute expanse, the trio and quartet pictorialisations of its track titles are truly exquisite – out of meticulously-structured compositions, Pysz (like some modern-day troubadour) summons fluent, extended acoustic and classical guitar improvisations. But whilst his fretboard dexterity might be compared to that of Al Di Meola, Pat Metheny or John McLaughlin, this is not hard-swinging, solid-grooving jazz or jazz-rock; rather, it exudes a patient delicacy – predominantly balmy, often bustling – which can become entrancing.
Sometimes this music suggests a surface simplicity which belies its intricacy, as in opener Fresh Look – a blithe, sea-breeze of a tune with regular chordal shifts, yet inviting boundless guitar, bandoneon and bass extemporisations; and Water Streets(inspired by Maciek’s first visit to Venice) is full of complex, almost architectural detail as it flows to scampering bass motifs, the swell of changing time signatures and sweetly lilting melodies. Pysz clearly delights in the freedom of working with his trusted bassist and drummer, and the broadness of eight-minute I Saw You You Again brims with confidence, Goloubev’s nimble pizzicato voicings so sublime, and di Bonaventura adding elegant piano expression…. Read the full review here