Marcin Wasilewski Trio w/ Joakim Milder Spark Of Life - spark-of-life - ECM 2400



The fourth ECM album from the Marcin Wasilewski Trio adds a special guest, the lyrical Swedish saxophonist Joakim Milder, whom the Polish band came to know through live performances with Tomasz Stanko’s Litania project. Amongst other affinities, the players share a love of Krzyzstof Komeda’s themes, and “Sleep Safe and Warm” written for Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, makes a welcome reappearance here. Milder played the theme with Stanko on the Litania recording in 1997. Two years earlier the Wasilewski Trio (or the Simple Acoustic Trio, as they were then known) featured it on their very first album, Komeda. “Wasilewski is a sensitive, bittersweet romantic,” opined UK website Marlbank recently, “in one sense a disciple of Bill Evans, but just as much a follower of Komeda, the great Polish film composer. And it’s fitting that one of Komeda’s most compelling melodies is included on the new album.”

On Spark Of Life, recorded in Lugano in March 2014, and produced by Manfred Eicher, the Wasilewski group balances original material – intensely melodic new tunes by Marcin (including variations of the beautiful title track), and one from Milder (the buoyant “Still”)  – with an eclectic range of covers. The players embrace Herbie Hancock’s “Actual Proof” (an acoustic version of a tune very much associated with the sonorities of the Fender Rhodes), the Police’s pop hit “Message In A Bottle” (here given a robust, Tyner-ish rhythmic emphasis), “Do rycerzy, do szlachty, do mieszczan” from Polish grunge-rock group Hey, and Slawomir Kurkiewicz’s sensitive arrangement of a piece by contemporary classical composer Grazyna Bacewicz. Throughout, the Wasilewski Trio reinforces its status as one of the most resourceful groups around. This is the trio’s second ECM appearance in a matter of months, following on from sterling work as Jacob Young’s rhythm section on Forever Young.