Tomasz Dąbrowski

The Individual Beings
(April)

Like his mentor Tomasz Stanko, the Polish trumpet visionary Tomasz Dąbrowski prefers to work without a safety net. The Individual Beings is a fitting homage to the late Stanko on which Dąbrowski plays Stanko’s own trumpet. And while Dąbrowski is the star, six other musicians — four Polish, two Scandinavian — help celebrate this dazzling testament to individuality.

Each of these eight Dąbrowski originals creates its own universe. “JR” sets the stage. Percussion launches it, then Dąbrowski steps in confidently, followed by saxes all stately and bright, coiling and uncoiling, the mix ever denser. Max Mucha’s bass seizes the spotlight, spurring free percussive interplay that builds into an ominous soundscape blending electronics and piano. Melody succumbs to atmosphere as the tune clusters and vibrates.

Consider “Sandy.” Keyboardist Grzegorz Tarwid unfurls it, all chiming and pensive, giving way to burred, subtle Dąbrowski. Tawid anchors “Sandy” as its texture amasses, percussion loping irregularly beneath the chording of the winds. Saxes and trumpet accelerate against the deliberate percussion and Tawid’s regulatory piano. The tune deconstructs midway only to reassemble, this time packing attitude in saxophone bleats protesting thunderous drums. It unwinds loud and argumentative, saxes and a muffled Dąbrowski attempting to block the rhythm section. That doesn’t work, and that’s just fine.

On “Troll,” Irek Wojtczak’s alto saxophone gives Tawid a worthy opponent. Like many tracks, this is about tension — until Dąbrowski enters halfway through, a kind of peacemaker who, buttressed by Mucha’s bass, gives the tune focus even as it increases in intensity. Mlynarski’s electric drums pop. Such a fearless band.



On Sale Now
December 2022
Kenny Barron
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