Joachim Mencel

Brooklyn Eye

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Mateusz Kołodziej, AxunArts (Poland)

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Joachim Mencel grew up in a country where at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the next decade, people did not bask in luxury (although part of the society probably did not complain). The constant fight for freedom, an attempt to overthrow the power controlled from Moscow, dreams of a better life - preferably in the United States, which were presented as an almost mythical land from where Polish families received parcels from time to time. Mencel was looking, like many young Poles who grew up at that time, for a springboard in culture - not the one steeped in socialist realism, but in Western models marked by freedom and diversity. For him, jazz turned out to be something like that, which the future artist had to deal with thanks to Wróblewski's "Ptaszyn" broadcast, which played, for example, compositions by Miles Davis on the Polish radio.

You can read about all this in the author's note contained within the physical edition of the album. What about music?

I cannot say with a clear conscience that it is thoroughly American. Yes, we will hear here a lot of swing-inspired melodies (the already opening track "I'm Yo Man" gives us such an opportunity) and compositions in which the piano and its jazz harmony play the dominant role (an extremely calm number of "The Things"), smooth jazz and jazz-rock guitar parts (Steve Cardenas) and improvisation. There are also pieces where the rhythm section can boast of interesting moments (Scotty Colley - bass, Rudy Royston - drums; "Psalm 88", "Arrowsic"), as well as references to Anglo-Saxon literature ("The Last Of The Mohicans"). The Polish musician, however, added an element to this, which gave the whole album a new character, directing the material to more European ones. I mean the Slavic awareness of the leader, which was expressed by the use of hurdy-gurdy. This instrument introduced individual compositions to a completely new dimension. It would be too much of a simplification if I wrote that this procedure refers only to folk roots (although it certainly is also the case). The use of the instrument, which was popular many centuries ago, turned out to be a link with the European tradition rooted in a culture drawing on Christianity, Judaism ("Come Holy Spirit", "Psalm 88") and the influence of ancient philosophy, i.e. a specific source, something that it is difficult to find a trace in the history of the American nation without accepting the existence of indigenous people there (a more or less successful attempt of which is the novel "The Last of the Mohicans", already mentioned by me). This instrument introduced individual compositions to a completely new dimension. It would be too much of a simplification if I wrote that this procedure refers only to folk roots (although it certainly is also the case). The use of the instrument, which was popular many centuries ago, turned out to be a link with the European tradition rooted in a culture drawing on Christianity, Judaism ("Come Holy Spirit", "Psalm 88") and the influence of ancient philosophy, i.e. a specific source, something that it is difficult to find a trace in the history of the American nation without accepting the existence of indigenous people there (a more or less successful attempt of which is the novel "The Last of the Mohicans", already mentioned by me). This instrument introduced individual compositions to a completely new dimension. It would be too much of a simplification if I wrote that this procedure refers only to folk roots (although it certainly is also the case). The use of the instrument, which was popular many centuries ago, turned out to be a link with the European tradition rooted in a culture drawing on Christianity, Judaism ("Come Holy Spirit", "Psalm 88") and the influence of ancient philosophy, i.e. a specific source, something that it is difficult to find a trace in the history of the American nation without accepting the existence of indigenous people there (a more or less successful attempt of which is the novel "The Last of the Mohicans", already mentioned by me). that this procedure refers only to folk roots (although it certainly is also the case). The use of the instrument, which was popular many centuries ago, turned out to be a link with the European tradition rooted in a culture drawing on Christianity, Judaism ("Come Holy Spirit", "Psalm 88") and the influence of ancient philosophy, i.e. a specific source, something that it is difficult to find a trace in the history of the American nation without accepting the existence of indigenous people there (a more or less successful attempt of which is the novel "The Last of the Mohicans", already mentioned by me). that this procedure refers only to folk roots (although it certainly is also the case). The use of the instrument, which was popular many centuries ago, turned out to be a link with the European tradition rooted in a culture drawing on Christianity, Judaism ("Come Holy Spirit", "Psalm 88") and the influence of ancient philosophy, i.e. a specific source, something that it is difficult to find a trace in the history of the American nation without accepting the existence of indigenous people there (a more or less successful attempt of which is the novel "The Last of the Mohicans", already mentioned by me).

The strength of this album is also the compositional idea of ​​selected pieces (it is worth adding that it is entirely written by Mencel) - sometimes based mainly on combining the sound of two instruments (the shortest piece on the album, marked with folk emotions, "Photosynthesis" turns out to be a fascinating collage of guitar and lyre), and at other times subordinated to the texture of a single sound source (a good example is undoubtedly the "Pelican" number, in which the leader's piano plays the dominant role). Supposedly nothing new, because in jazz such things are almost commonplace, but with the right use of the available means they can leave a positive impression. This is exactly the case with this album.

"Brooklyn Eye" is definitely an album worth attention: first and foremost, it sounds better than Joachim Mencel's previous albums, moreover, polished (as usual), connecting two continents, symbolically mixing New York influence with Polish folk and being a dream come true for the composer himself. Don't miss it. (MAK)








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