Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski’s trio is one of the best to appear on the European jazz scene in the past decade. This set provides a reminder of their emergence in 2004 as accompanists to Polish legend Tomasz Stanko, featuring as it does Joakim Milder, the soft-toned saxist from Stanko’s brilliant 1997 album Litania. That album was a celebration of Polish composer Krzyzstof Komeda, and his work makes an appearance here, too: Sleep Safe and Warm, from Komeda’s Rosemary’s Baby score, is given something of a 1960s Wayne Shorter/Herbie Hancock ethereality by Milder and Wasilewski. Elsewhere, the pianist’s versatility is exemplified on the bluesily hymn-like Austin, the languishing tone-poem of the title track, and some intriguing covers – including a punchy account of the Police’s Message in a Bottle, and a groove-switching, group-conversational trio version of Herbie Hancock’s Actual Proof. It’s all right up to Wasilewski Trio standards, and Milder is a shadowy but fascinating presence.
Marcin Wasilewski Trio/Joakim Milder: Spark of Life review – superb piano trio maintain their high standards
John Fordham is the Guardian's main jazz critic. He has written several books on the subject, reported on it for publications including Time Out, Sounds, Wire and Word, and contributed to documentaries for radio and TV. He is a former editor of Time Out, City Limits and Jazz UK, and regularly contributes to BBC Radio 3's Jazz on 3