This is an impressive debut from Polish guitarist.

Self-Release – Available from Bandcamp

Jakub Klimiuk – guitar; Simeon May – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Mark Lockheart – tenor saxophone (tracks 7, 11); Cody Moss – piano; Kinzan – upright bass; Adam Merrell – drums

Recorded on September 21st & 22nd September 2023

This is an impressive debut from Polish guitarist, Klimiuk in a set of original compositions that really give the quintet something to work from. Each of the structured compositions that are at time linked by brief freely improvised studies are more than just launch pads for the soloists and each bring a different facet of Klimiuk’s musical vision and influence to the fore. This often sees the compositions exhibiting techniques from contemporary classical music as well as jazz that will often incorporate fully improvised sections within the framework of the piece.

Klimiuk acknowledges an interest in the current New York scene, citing musicians such as Mark Turner and Aaron Parks as influencing his approach alongside the Scandinavian guitarist Jakob Bro, but importantly he does not brandish these influences in his own work but merely alludes and acknowledges them.

The music on (un)balanced reflects the feelings about the overwhelming nature of today’s pace of life and wealth of information that is constantly thrown at us. Seeking to find some sort of balance within the world in which he lives, Klimiuk has looked to do this in the language of music, and with the rough and tumble of the harder edged tunes and the ballads seems to have discovered his own equilibrium.

‘Illusion’ for example develops from a rock solid groove from the drums and compact guitar riff. The theme is allowed time to develop with some superb playing by Simeon May on tenor prior to a build up of tension delivered through the harder edged tone that Klimiuk introduces into his guitar playing before unleashing a rock driven solo.

There is a nice relaxed and gently propulsive melody to ‘Casio’ with a brief excursion for solo tenor sax before the group re-enters. There are solos for both bass and guitar that bring out the lyrical side in both Kinzan and the leader, and the mood is more foreboding in the aptly titled sceptical that feature the excellent Mark Lockheart on tenor saxophone who works in tandem with May who is heard on bass clarinet and also deliveris a fine solo that get right inside the composition.

If ‘Absence of Colour’ suggests a somewhat drab piece, this cleverly arranged ballad dispels this quickly as Klimiuk reveals much in a solo that is poised and lyrical giving way to a more animated piece as the composition develops, while a quartet piece ‘Dualism’ without tenor is the most tender and beautiful of compositions.

Following up on the EP Reluctance released in 2022 by the Quintet it is apparent that the group have continued to develop the sound and compositional concept that the guitarist has, and this has manifested itself well in this most interesting full length debut album.