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BLACKBIRD ~ BLACKBIRD
MULTIKULTI MPJ 012 (Barcode: 5907796319710) ~ POLAND ~ Jazz-Rock Fusion

Recorded: 2014 Released: 2015

This is the debut album by the young Polish Jazz quintet BlackBirdFind albums by this artist, which comprises of trumpeter Pawel SurmanFind albums by this artist, guitarist Michal WalczakFind albums by this artist, pianist Michal RoratFind albums by this artist, bassist Bartek BednarekFind albums by this artist and US drummer Frank ParkerFind albums by this artist. Veteran vibraphonist Bernard MaseliFind albums by this artist appears as a guest artist on a couple of tracks. The album presents seven original compositions (one of which is repeated four times), four by Walczak, two by Rorat and one by Bednarek. The album was recorded live and has a very good sound quality.

The music is dominated by the sound of the electric guitar and immediately falls under the typical Fusion imagery. The combination of lead guitar and trumpet, which was favored by early Jazz-Rock / Fusion artists, like Larry CoryellFind albums by this artist and his Eleventh HouseFind albums by this artist ensemble for example, was pretty dormant lately and the attempt by BlackBird to bring it back is very effective. With the guitar / trumpet lead balanced by the acoustic piano and the electric bass and drums pulsating vigorously, the overall sound of the quintet floats somewhere between Fusion and the Scandinavian ECMFind albums on this label sound, which of course turns it immediately into a very likeable piece of music.

Once we have established that the album sounds great the question of course arises as to its musical contents, which is definitely not on the same level as the sound. The melodies are rather simplistic and a bit repetitive, which makes the album to sound like one continuous piece of music with very little diversity. Even the attempt to break the monotony by repeating the theme song four times does not help much. It´s not that the music is bad or anything, it just sort of stays in one place all the time. But of course this is only my personal opinion and others may find it completely misguided.

The personal performances by the quintet members are all quite adequate, although the guitar is definitely too loud and aggressive. For me Rorat delivers the most impressive solos, even if he is the most introvert and timid player herein. His piano strokes are a true joy throughout.

Overall this is a pleasant Fusion album, which many Fusion fans might find attractive and which sounds absolutely divine, but is hardly a brainer. Since it is a debut effort, things will probably improve with their next release, which I am impatiently waiting for already.
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