Tag Archives: Insight

Gig review: Maciek Pysz and Gianluca Corona, 14 Feb 2014, London

It was Valentine’s Day in London, the perfect evening for some romantic music and a glass or two of good wine, and what better than two guitars to relax you. But wait!  If the audience had been expecting gentle background music that they could chat over, they got something unexpectedly deep. From the very first chord of Manha de Carnaval (L. Bonfa) the audience were perfectly attentive, rapt by the magic that unfolded. The guitarists in question were Maciek Pysz and Gianluca Corona, two masters of classical and acoustic guitars, and quite obviously two old friends. Unlike other gigs I go to, the people around me listened harder because the music, and perhaps the experience of live music in an intimate venue, was new to them.

We concentrated hard and were rewarded with a wide repertoire from the catchy familiar Manha  which was given a glorious rolling gait, to compositions by Maciek from his album Insight and new work from an upcoming duo album. Jokes such as “Guess what this composition is called?  Lost in London!” had particular resonance for many in the room, foreigners in a big city. I was particularly moved by Amici,  their joint composition, it ranged over many emotions and was about their friendship which goes back many years.   And we had a taster of an upcoming album of the duo – Fresh Look – which they record this summer and will be released on 33Jazz later this year.

These two masters of the guitar completely trashed the idea that guitar music is something you have as background music.  You have to see it to marvel at the delicate intricate sounds, the dazzle of flashing fingers, the glorious melodies, the effortlessness of it all. Afterwards you just smile. What better way to spend Valentine’s Day?

You can catch up with the Maciek Pysz Trio on their tour March – May 2014 – for details see http://www.maciekpysz.com/

and if you have 21 minutes there is an interesting podcast with Maciek Pysz here  with London Jazz News.

Mary James 19 February 2014

Some thoughts on Rothko, megalithic architecture and jazz…

I felt at home in the 6000 year old Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Paola, Malta. The shapes were familiar, I had seen them in Rothko. These mysterious underground chambers, majestic burial places, were excavated by hand using tools of antler and flint, the limestone smooth as silk. Their perfect proportions of aperture and lintel thickness struck me as timeless. These softly lit caverns awed us to silence. In our mind’s eyes, we heard the scrape of flint on stone, the drip of rainwater in winter, the quiet conversation of the workmen eons ago. In a museum in Valletta we saw some offerings to the dead taken from these chambers. A tiny sleeping woman, fashioned from stone, her winter skirt of sheepskin-like stone gently crinkled at its hem, her best skirt. Such humanity touches us across the millennia. Move forward to the 20th century, and Rothko. His Red on Maroon could overwhelm you. Those huge vertical columns and apertures look like windows or doors, the sombre tones shift as you gaze at them, making you feel uneasy. But there is nothing there.

Maroon by Maciek Pysz on his album Insight was inspired by this same Rothko. It’s contemplative, and unlike the other compositions on this album, this one is not sunlit, it is permeated by loss and reflective sadness. As I stood in one of the chambers of the Hypogeum I heard Asaf Sirkis’s gentle udu drum, it could have been the patter of rainwater, or a drum from 6000 years ago. Yuri Goloubev’s delicate bass playing could just as easily have been inspired by the painting or the need to ease our passage from life to the afterlife as I experienced in those cool chambers.

All too soon, we were in a sunlit street, wondering if we had imagined all that was beneath our feet, marvelling that such beauty could have been visualised by our ancestors and then made to happen.