Joachim Mencel

Brooklyn Eye



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MUSIC REVIEW BY Dionizy Piątkowski, Era Jazzu (Poland)


Joachim Mencel is an experienced pianist and composer, a respected arranger and producer of vocal music. But he is also the author of many interesting music projects, the most important of which is certainly the jazz cantata "Love explained everything to me" (for jazz combo, string orchestra, boys' choir and soloists), cooperation with the English violinist Nigel Kennedy, concerts with the American clarinetist Brad Terry. The original projects that Joachim Mencel has been implementing for many years are also extremely important .

In 1992 - together with Mieczysław Szcześniak, Marcin Pospieszalski, Robert Cudzich and Piotr Jankowski - he founded the New Life group , from 1993 he played in Janusz Muniak's quartet, then in Andrzej Cudzich's band (with whom he recorded the album " Simple Way " in 1997 ) . At the invitation of the English violinist Nigel Kennedy, he took part in a music project presented at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Berlin, Milan, Hamburg, Krakow, and also at the prestigious Schleswig-Holstein Festival. He regularly collaborates with the American clarinet player Brad Terry (albums " All about Spring", "Colorado", "Live in Fort Andross "). He writes songs for Ewa Bem, Mieczysław Szcześniak, Nina Stiller, Anna Maria Jopek, Kaissa. In 2006, he composed the jazz cantata " Love explained everything to me " to the texts of Karol Wojtyła, the premiere of which was attended by, among others, Argentine bandeonist Dino Saluzzi, saxophonist Lee Konitz, Ewa Bem, Kaissa, Jorgos Skolias, Mieczysław Szcześniak, Janusz Muniak, highlander band Jan Karpiel -Bułecki, the boys' choir of the Krakow Philharmonic and the Beethoven Academy Orchestra. He prepared the literary and musical project " El Greco" documented with the album " Sing Cuckoo ". His oratorio " Transitus " and the project " Tuwim. Word. Music. Dance", where he wrote music to poems by Julian Tuwim. Joachim Mencel is also the author of a project for a string orchestra and a jazz quartet, and a composer of music for films, ballet performances and pantomimes. His " Artisena " - a fusion of Polish and Slavic folk music and modern jazz, was produced by Joachim Mencel's Quintet and was quite successful.

An important, recent project is the album " Brooklyn Eye ", the realization of Joachim Mencel's dream to record an album inspired by America and to do it in New York, together with American musicians. " The repertoire of the album consists only of my compositions," explains the idea of ​​the session Joachim Mencel . All of them refer to experiences related to American music and culture, they are also inspired by my travels around the USA and all impressions and inspirations related to the American way of life. Some of the songs were written a long time ago and I played them in completely different arrangements, and some I wrote especially for this session and performed them for the first time in the studio. I play some on the piano and some on the hurdy-gurdy.

The Polish composer recruited excellent musicians for the project: guitarist Steve Cardenas (music by Paul Motian, Charlie Haden and John Patitucci), bassist Scott Colley (he created a rhythm section for Herbie Hancock, Craig Taborn and Andrew Hill) and drummer Rudy Royston - an icon of modern jazz and music of the bands Rudresh Mahanthappa, Linda Oh, Ben Allison, Dave Douglas and Bill Frisell). Joachim Mencel is a pianist and virtuoso of playing the exotic (probably also for American musicians) hurdy-gurdy. Lira in jazz is a precedent. Joachim Mencel delighted with his perfect mastery of this folk instrument, realizing, among others, album "Artisena ". In the subtleties of jazz, he plays melodic, Slavic "songs" and "dances", making them romantic and melancholic standards, as if patterns of classical, illustrative jazz. In Poland, the hurdy-gurdy appears in early and folk music ensembles after many years of oblivion. Joachim Mencel tries - with great success - to build a sound based on the particular texture of the game and the satiety of sounds, modulating the sound during its duration and to play in non-tempered tuning. " Brooklyn Eye " - the American album of Joachim Mencel is the premiere for such sounds and inspirations. The sound of the lyre is dressed in both jazz improvisations and exciting accompaniment. An exceptional recording is, for example, " Photosynthesis"Played only in a duet of lyre and guitar, where the combination of these two instruments managed to obtain an unusual, very original sound. Album " Brooklyn Eye"it is quite a significant, stylistic synthesis for Joachim Mencel's music, as it hides not only the ambitions of an outstanding composer and seasoned pianist, but also fits neatly into the orthodoxy of today's American jazz. Joachim Mencel does not try to expose himself and the virtuosity he has (both as a pianist and the undisputed master of the "jazz" hurdy-gurdy), but he is one of the important elements of the entire, well-thought-out and realized session. The American album may not be too "roots", but it smuggles what is most important in the whole "Joachim Mencel's jazz": a bit of melancholy, melody, elements of some Slavic rhetoric subordinated to the hard principles of New York (read: Brooklyn), jazz texture.

Translated from Polish





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