Saturday, April 21, 2012

Joachim Mencel / Willem von Hombracht / Harry Tanschek - Krakovians at Krakow (17.04)

Joachim Mencel is a Krakow based pianists, I remember couple years back he had a very busy concert schedule, fantastic trio but also duo concerts with DJ Krime, I used to get to see him play at least once a month. His music has its melodic charm, his playing was always brilliant while his presence on stage filled the air with passion and positive vibe as he lived and played the music with the entire body, standing, jumping, dancing by the piano (or fender). I consider his cd from the era "Interludium" a true masterpiece (unfortunately it is out of print). Unfortunately, after the death of his bass player, his concerts became rare thing. Which is another reason why I waited so impatiently for this concert.

Joachim Mencel
The trio with Willem von Hombracht and Harry Tanschek was born during summer jazz workshops in Krakow and resulted in cd "Krakovians" (registered 2004, released 2007 by Deo Recordings). The three players clearly share a passion for teaching music and enjoy playing together a lot. Both players in the rhythm section share a handfull of solo spots (Harry Tanschek stole the show with salsa/carribbean percussion fiesta in one piece). However, while they're prove to be very capable musicians, what stands between them and your average solid jazz piano trio is Joachim Mencel and this is is most evident when they're playing his compositions - that's when there's true fire and passion, when Joachim makes his most stunning solo statements, when it seems they can go any direction and that's also the material that pushes the rhythm section beyond the comfort zone, lights up the creative spark and provokes most adventurous passages. Mencel's compositions share unique quality, with clear vocal line, with melody that anchors the piece while allowing for in depth harmonic reconfigurations (in fact "Tu i Teraz (Here and Now)" is also recorded by polish pop/jazz star Anna Maria Jopek). As for the piece from his "Interludium" cd "Ta Góra (That Mountain") - rich and complex, alternating between  furious and passionate flamenco-like motive and peaceful passages - I have heard it live at least 10 times, and it never failed to amaze me.

A fine concert to start Jazz Festival Starzy i Młodzi (hope to see you there next week for successive concerts). It was great to see Joachim on stage again after a while and I hope he'll play more frequently again (and maybe finally get to record his old "new" compositions which I record from the concerts).

(Joachim and his trio will be featured extensively on this monday's radio playlist)

Joachim Mencel - piano
Willem von Hombracht - double bass
Harry Tanschek - drums

Festiwal Starzy i Mlodzi czyli Jazz w Krakowie
Akademia Muzyczna. Kraków. 17.04.2012


  1. Quite a fantastic CD I stumbled across when copying all music into iTunes. I saw this page while looking for a photo to assign as an album cover. Yes, people on the web still read blurbs, occasionally.

  2. Aber vorsichtig; Das Video ist nicht mit Willem!


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