Polish pianist and composer Joachim Mencel finally realized his dream of life with 'Brooklyn Eye': a recording in the heart of New York with notables from the jazz scene from there, more specifically Scott Colley, Rudy Royston and Steve Cardenas.
Not that Mencel is a novice. He has been composing for film, orchestra and ballet for years and has also performed on stage or in the studio with Richard Galliano, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman, Terry Clark and Charlie Mariano. As a good student he assimilated influences and practical lessons. The crystallization of all this eventually ended up on 'Brooklyn Eye' for which Mencel wrote the ten songs. The recording happened the day after Notre-Dame was on fire in Paris. Titles like 'Come Holy Spirit' and 'Psalm 88' suddenly weighed more heavily in this context.
Yet it did not become an elegy to a damaged sacred heritage. This is contemporary jazz straight from the beating heart of the jazz world (at least then). The hyper kinetic opening track sets the tone. The gentlemen were clearly on edge. Even if the pace slows down slightly, the tension remains. As mentioned, timid influences from Mercel's past are popping up everywhere. In between, both cinematic mood creations and classical accents as well as more oriental arabesques and even bluesy passages. Remarkable are the pieces in which Mercel can be heard on hurdy-gurdy, an instrument that is not so common in jazz.
With the wonderful guitarist Steve Cardenas (Paul Motian & The Electric Bebop Band, Charlie Haden), drummer Rudy Royston (Jon Irabagon, Bill Frisell) and Scott Colley (Herbie Hancock, Craig Taborn) he of course had a dream trio around him, but Joachim Mencel is remarkably himself a more than gifted pianist and above all a composer.