SO… WHERE have I been with this review of Maciek Pysz Trio’s ‘Insight’? Well, probably reclining on a sunlounger, soaking up both the Summer sunshine and the perfectly-attuned sounds from this delightful release by guitarist Maciek Pysz, with Asaf Sirkis (drums & percussion) and Yuri Goloubev (double bass).
It is a long time since I have heard guitar-playing with quite so much precision, assuredness and musicality – and Pysz’s technique will no doubt be compared to jazz and jazz/rock greats Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin, such is the impassioned fluidity of the performances here. The nine self-penned tracks (one in collaboration with Italian guitarist Gianluca Corona) demonstrate the Polish-born guitarist’s considerable compositional skills, taking us on a journey of differing moods, emotions and influences. And employing acoustic and classical guitars, Pysz is able to skilfully present his jazz – always accessible, yet technically and emotively breathtaking – with luminous Spanish, Latin and Brazilian character.
This writing and playing would be impressive enough in its own right. But Maciek Pysz has chosen two of the most intuitive and sensitive players on the scene to take this music into a three-dimensional sphere. Asaf Sirkis, already known for his huge contribution in the jazz world (Gilad Atzmon, John Law, Alex Hutton) provides drums and percussion courtesy of his original, handmade kit (used to such great effect in Tim Garland’s Lighthouse Trio). Incorporating hand drums, cymbals and the depth of the beautiful Udu, Sirkis creates his own soundworld – as mesmerising to watch as to hear – with the gorgeous timbres and rhythms he coaxes from this unusual percussive grouping. Bassist Yuri Goloubev, a regular performer alongside Sirkis, brings his own distinctive expression to this recording – he shows absolute empathy with and musical respect for the trio concept, nimbly matching Pysz with scampering runs as well as offering his very personal, singing arco style.
The whole programme flows beautifully, with the upbeat ‘Those Days’ immediately revealing how integrated this trio sound is. Frequently Pysz and Goloubev ‘become one’, guitar and bass equalling each other both in similarity of tone and accuracy of movement. Sirkis is characteristically ‘on it’ from start to finish, providing perfect rhythmic support with all his customary (and effortless, he would have us believe!) spark and flair – check out his genius on ‘Blue Water’. ‘Amici’, with deft soloing from Goloubev, has a slightly bittersweet tinge, leading to the summer breeze of ‘Lost in London’. ‘Insights’, a track perhaps more classical in feel, has all three players contributing to its exhilarating momentum. Goloubev then provides a sublime and lyrical arco melody to the gentle ‘Moody Leaf’, and the Rothko-inspired ‘Maroon’ shimmers with melding guitar and bass lines. The haunting ‘Steps of Time’ soon breaks into a pacey, ticking Latin dance, Sirkis again the perfect rhythm-maker who inspires the whole trio into a brilliant shared frenzy – arresting stuff! Closing with azure beauty, ‘Under the Sky’ ebbs and flows gracefully, Pysz’s guitar melody and accompaniment so serene, Sirkis subtly embelleshing on Udu.
Recorded at the famed Italian studios of Artesuono, and employing the world-class talent of respected engineer Stefan Amerio, the sound balance is impeccable – pin-sharp clarity throughout. One might choose to half-listen to ‘Insight’ during a heat-induced siesta, though I recommend close and full attention to these extraordinary musicians who demonstrate their obvious connection with each other to produce a genuine and elegant collection of Summer sounds. See Maciek’s website for live appearances – I very much look forward to their Kings Place Festival gig in September 2013.
Maciek Pysz acoustic and classical guitars
Asaf Sirkis drums and percussion
Yuri Goloubev double bass
33JAZZ – 33JAZZ231 (2013)