Treffpunkt Stuttgart

Michał Miśkiewicz of the Marcin Wasilewski Trio in Stuttgart

Michał Miśkiewicz of the Marcin Wasilewski Trio in Stuttgart

There’s a famous track recorded by the (second) Miles Davis Quintet called Nefertiti, in which the trumpet and saxophone repeat the theme while the rhythm section solos furiously; nilpferd has written eloquently about it at some point in the past. I’ve sometimes wondered whether one might be able to find a version of this in which the lead instruments have been removed altogether, leaving just piano, bass and drums – but after Wednesday night in Jazzclub Bix in Stuttgart, I’m not sure this is necessary any more: live, the Marcin Wasilewski Trio offer just such an experience. The fragility and delicacy of their albums – wonderful, of course – is replaced by a remarkable muscularity. Many songs build into a driving juggernaut of sound, with the same relentless momentum and drama as one finds in, say, songs by the Neil Cowley Trio or the Esbjorn Svensson Trio, but whereas those groups do this through the power of repetition, the Wasilewski Trio manage it without any need to repeat phrases. I now want to start a petition for a live album from them, since this is such a difference from the records – and, assuming that I don’t simply rush off to start lessons in jazz drumming, I want a means of accentuating the drums on the records, to reproduce the experience of sitting just a yard or so away from the astonishing musicianship of Michał Miśkiewicz.

Oh, yes, this was also an opportunity for me to meet nilpferd and his lovely family, and I’m all too well aware that he’d be able to describe the concert much better than I can. I know some of you were asking for photos of this momentous occasion, but I’m afraid that hippos are shy and retiring animals, and I was much too English to insist…

2 thoughts on “Treffpunkt Stuttgart

  1. Cheers Neville, it was a pleasure having you to visit. Don’t think I can better the concert description, it was indeed a marvel witnessing the group’s dynamic and in particular Miśkiewicz’ genius up close.
    I dropped ECM a line with a request for a live album, fwiw. Haven’t heard back from Manfred Eicher yet but I’ve put us down for the liner notes.
    Regarding the non-existent group photo I blame the fact that I’d just poured the whiskies and was somewhat pre-occupied 😉

    • Whisky is much more important. We can leave the “Spot the Difference Between Two Middle-Aged Blokes with shortish greying hair and glasses wearing mostly black, nodding along to modern European jazz” competition to another time…

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