Tag Archives: Maciek Pysz Trio

Maciek Pysz Tour blog: Impressions to 13 November 2015

Maciek Pysz, St Ives 10 Nov 2015, photo by Tony Brown
Maciek Pysz, St Ives 10 Nov 2015, photo by Tony Brown

Alchemy – the process of turning base metals into gold. That’s how a tour seems to me – the base metal is the long drive to the gig, snatched meals, unloading the car (which Tardis-like has to hold far more than you can imagine), the patient carrying of stuff up or down stairs to the silent stage, the bleak empty rows of chairs, the music just notes on a page.  The alchemy is what happens when you mix supreme virtuosity, inspiration and shared experience.  And as this first full week of the tour ended with news of the tragedy in Paris, the beauty was punctured, Messenger and Facebook anxiously consulted. The gold had turned back to base metal.

But earlier there was definitely a touch of Eleanor Rigby  in Yuri Goloubev’s graceful arco opening to Peacefully Waiting.  Not for the first time was I reminded of how deep is the influence of The Beatles on all our listening.  I heard it again in the upbeat Ringo-like chug from Asaf Sirkis in Those Days when played in Cambridge. The title of the new album by Maciek Pysz is ‘A Journey’ and it seems to me that Maciek is describing interior journeys as much as literal ones in his compositions, that the musical descriptions of places like Venice in Water Streets are also descriptions of himself.

When an audience member says to me “I had not heard of Maciek before, I am so glad I came, I love this, I can’t wait to put the cd on when I get home”, when a musician in the audience involuntarily breathes “Oooo…”,  when I look round and see people smiling with happiness, then there is the alchemy. And as for me, I will try to listen with the stillness of Asaf in the next concerts.

Of course none of these wonderful evenings would happen without the toil of unpaid promoters who bear the financial risk of running an event. From the welcome on our arrival, the heartfelt introductions (“I have been really looking forward to this gig, we are so lucky to have this band with us tonight”) to the final cheery wave goodbye, they make all the difference and help turn the mundane into gold.

The Maciek Pysz ‘A Journey’ Album Release Tour continues til 28th November 2015. Album on Dot Time Records.

www.maciekpysz.com

Mary James 15 November 2015

Gigs of 2014

Maciek Pysz_Pizza ExpressOver the past year I have gradually moved from being “just” a member of the audience to an active promoter for a small jazz club and I’m the booking agent for a jazz musician.   And this has had quite an effect on how I experience live music.   I now know just how hard it is to get gigs, how a malfunctioning monitor means a musician cannot hear himself or anyone else,  how not wearing your earplugs as a drummer is to risk serious damage to your eardrums. All of these things, and more, make me marvel at the musicians I have heard this year.     So here are a few sketches of many happy hours:

Marius Neset in Brecon Cathedral in August.  The sheer effort of Marius’s performance –  seeing him gasp like a marathon runner, his body almost doubled over as he tried to take in air after filling the vaults with incredible blood curdling sound.  A friend overheard to say “I don’t mind I never saw John Coltrane, because now I  have seen Marius Neset.”

Jef Neve , solo, at Kings Place in November.   A performance that moved me very much, especially Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You, a song  which Jef said had saved his life several times.  His simple heartfelt introductions to each song, like we were in his living room, enhanced the enjoyment.   His album One  is on my Christmas list.

Maciek Pysz at Pizza Express in March with Yuri Goloubev, Asaf Sirkis and Tim Garland.   Reviewed here.  And remembered most for the achingly beautiful Beneath an Evening Sky by Ralph Towner with duo between Tim and Maciek.

Phronesis at Union Chapel in May.  Clouds of dry ice softening our view in a huge venue, Anton’s smile when he saw friends on the front row. Jasper’s jokes. The sheer joy and energy of it, a wonderful huge sound, the retention of intimacy in a big space.

 Michael Wollny at Cheltenham Jazz Festival in April.    I decided not to listen to anything by him before the gig, I had heard of his reputation, but I wanted to discover him for myself. So I was completely blown away by his virtuosity,  huge presence and the togetherness of his trio, and the way I just “got” the music, from plain chant to rock.  He did not disappoint.  It’s great to be able to write that.

Roller Trio at Stratford Jazz in October.    It was such an honour to host Mercury Prize winners.   It’s not just that they write such catchy tunes, instantly hummable, their own sound.    It’s how they are on stage – no-nonsense, let’s get on with it and see what happens and let’s make sure people enjoy it because we will be enjoying it.  Banks of pedals in front of James.   Sounds that made your blood run cold with excitement and fear almost.  Luke’s drumming that could be heard down the street.

All these performances have one thing in common – they moved me, my life was richer because of them, and that is why they are my gigs of 2014.   Thank you, every one.

Mary James 16 December 2014

Concert review: Maciek Pysz Trio at Pizza Express Soho London, 25 March 2014

Maciek Pysz_Pizza ExpressPerhaps as I write this I am subconsciously influenced by the proximity of the British Museum and the Elgin Marbles, but something about last night lodges in my thoughts under the heading ‘Timeless’, something about earthly nature being united with ideal heavenly beauty.   There were many moments in the opening concert at Pizza Express of guitarist Maciek Pysz’s Insight album tour that made a connection, for me anyway, between our physical presence, the transience of life and much deeper truths.

This is a trio of superstars, Yuri Goloubev on bass and Asaf Sirkis on percussion. They hadn’t played together since November but those intervening months have only served to deepen their harmony as a trio, their instinctive support of each other.  There was a darker feeling to the compositions, they took them slightly slower than the album, giving us the opportunity to relish the cool transcendency of Asaf’s drumming, the earthiness of Yuri’s mastery of his bass where the vibrations of his bowing come through the floor to connect you to the sound, and Maciek’s delight in tiny sounds like static floating in the air. His was a restrained performance, not showy, just impressive by what it omitted.

To celebrate the start of the tour, Maciek invited Tim Garland to join them for several compositions including a new piece by Maciek called Desert.  When Tim joined them for Those Days, the slightly Elizabethan dance feel of the original became a dark dense tango.  And Insights (with its many notes) was strongly syncopated.  But perhaps the zenith of this celestial evening was Ralph Towner’s Beneath an Evening Sky, which Tim has played with Ralph Towner.  The gentle serene soprano sax in conversation with the guitar was very special, with space for Yuri and Asaf to add to the quiet atmosphere, the tiny pattering steps of hands on udu drum grounding us again.

A couple of weeks ago I speculated whether this guitar/sax partnership would be Bill Frisell / Tom Rainey or Ralph Towner / Jan Garbarek.  It was neither of course,  it was subtle and mellow, and deeply satisfying.  After the final piece, the audience were silent for just a beat, we had been taken somewhere very special.

Try to see this wonderful trio somewhere on their tour. You will catch some of the magic.

Photo by Clement Regert.

Mary James 26 March 2014

 

Preview: Maciek Pysz Trio with Tim Garland, Pizza Express Jazz Soho, 25 March 2014

Maciek PyszWhy not start a major UK tour with a flourish?  That’s what Maciek Pysz has decided to do in launching his tour at Pizza Express Soho on Tuesday 25 March and he has chosen saxophonist of the moment, Tim Garland, to guest with him.  There have been some very celebrated guitarist/saxophonist partnerships in the past which seem to encompass every possible nuance:  Joe Pass and Zoot Sims (jaunty);  Pat Metheny and Joshua Redman (warm);  Ralph Towner and Jan Garbarek (glacial); and to me, most intriguing of all, Bill Frisell and Tim Berne ( as in M from ‘Theoretically’  –  just plain extraordinary – with its chiming, bell-tolling-like guitar undercurrent,  discordant sax which melts into something quite mellow but still remaining menacing).

What all these partnerships have in common is equality of relationship, you listen for both artists.  So by inviting Tim Garland to be his guest at an important gig, Maciek Pysz is making a very bold statement.   In a recent podcast for London Jazz  News, Maciek said he’d written a syncopated classical piece after being inspired by Chic Corea’s ‘The Continents’. This piece eventually appeared for his trio as Insights on his debut album ‘Insight’.  The Continents featured none other than Tim Garland.  So it is will be very interesting to see and hear how their partnership is presented at Pizza Express.   Buy a ticket and find out!

Book tickets for the gig at Pizza Express here.  If you can’t make Pizza Express then please make an effort to see the Trio at one of the other concerts on the tour, details on Maciek’s website.  You won’t be disappointed, the Trio’s onstage chemistry is electric and deeply wondrous, and the album ‘Insight’ is very beautiful. And lucky people in Edinburgh get a solo performance!

Mary James 5 March 2014

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