We have an amazing album. And it is not about the registration of the album signed by a Pole in the USA, surrounded by local giants of the jazz scene, or the world distribution resulting from the fact that it was released by a renowned label, but about the sound and complete negation of the artistic carbon paper.
The faith of Joachim Mencel is not without significance here, often verbalized in musical achievements (e.g. a cantata based on texts by Karol Wojtyła, Love explained everything to me). "Brooklyn Eye" is something that for private use I called the Polish soul in American sauce. It was the Americans who made jazz the most important and indigenous bloom of their culture, but the ability to create synergy from what is "theirs" with what is personal, is an element pushing the genre somewhere beyond the horizon of the cliché and canonical framework.
The very fact of having such a peculiar instrument as the hurdy-gurdy included in the recording must be surprising, although those who know Mencel know that not only does he use a living relic of music from centuries in style, but also skillfully - as here - combines it with a jazz combo, especially with the guitar. This is the same area of search as, for example, new colors or even innovative instruments in Pat Metheny's (see: 6-string fretless guitar, Pikasso Guitar). It is enough to listen to the duo Mencel - Steve Cardenas in Photosynthesis or a similar collage of timbres in the Come Holy Spirit quartet played by the whole quartet to notice that we are dealing with a new quality.
And here we come to the essence of art, in which innovation and uniqueness mean that something bears the stigma of artistry, as opposed to a reproduction or (even a better) copy. Listening to "Brooklyn Eye" I have the great comfort of not being able to compare this album to anything I've heard before. Yes, here and there there are associations of the Mencel-Cardenas tandem with canonical jazz duets (Peterson / Pass; Frisell / Hersch). The same trick of playing in unison works in Two Pieces with Beatrice in the case of Colley's hurdy-gurdy-double bass melange. What is astonishing is, however, in compositions such as the opening disc. I'm Yo Man, where the activity of the rhythm section is unusual, as in Full Immersion (Royston's intriguing, "open" percussion) or The Last of the Mohicans, the piano and guitar, with a lyre (there where is).
"Brooklyn Eye" is also an extraordinary solidity of the leader's composition. Psalm 88 carries the burden of the original text (reference to God as light or, in Heman's case, separation from God, as well as the connection with sin and inner darkness in the human heart with an extraordinary emphasis on suffering. ), and the final Pelican paints in notes the image of a bird soaring majestically across the sky.
For me, 2020 will surely be the year of Joachim Mencel's album, for which I simply thank him so straight from my heart. Behind the phrases, Polishness hidden in a romantic melody, depth and freshness. For a plate where it is difficult to predict what will be behind the next corner.