Blood Red Roses Republic
TOMASZ Stanko’s recent death adds poignancy to this latest release by the group the Polish trumpeter adopted as his rhythm section from 2001 to 2005. By the time Stanko brought them onto the international stage, pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz had already been a working unit for eight years, although they were only in their mid-twenties, and their continued work together pays dividends still as they listen to and support each other’s creative impulses.
This set was recorded within days of their most recent appearance in Scotland, in 2016, and it’s a treat to be taken back to that night when they drew as much inspiration from the Police’s Message in a Bottle as from a more conventional jazz item, Herbie Hancock’s thrillingly dramatic Actual Proof.
These and Wasilewski’s Night Train to You show them at their most dynamic, with the last named piece’s springy groove propelling the pianist to marvellously exultant improvising.
Wasilewski has a beautiful touch. Opening track Spark of Life captures his pearly phrasing and talent for creating atmosphere and moods and Three Reflections, with Miskiewicz at his most subtly urging, is a model of quiet collective brilliance.
IT IS probably fair to say that English trio Alt-J’s third studio album, Relaxer, failed to hit the heights of the two majestic efforts that preceded it.
So what better way to give Relaxer a shot of adrenaline, a year or so after it was first released, than to put out a “reimagined” and remixed version of said record?
The result, Reduxer, is an odd hybrid of math-rock and hip-hop, styles that complement each other here like melted-down advent calendar chocolate and a reformed meat product from the supermarket reduced aisle. At times it is almost unlistenable. In fact it’s hard to imagine fans enjoying much about this record – too niche for the mainstream, too weird for hardcore. Less alt-J, more Ctrl+Alt+Del.
A nice idea but, sadly, it is perhaps one vanity project too far for this innovative trio.