Łukasz Pawlik: Long-Distance Connections

Keyboard man finds new angles on the classic fusion style in the company of Mike Stern, Dave Weckl, Gary Novak, Randy Brecker et al

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Recorded over a span of two years in a variety of locations, Łukasz Pawlik’s Long-Distance Connections brings together some of modern jazz’s most esteemed players to create a fresh and energetic album.

On the first track, Indian Garden, Tom Kennedy, Dave Weckl and percussionist Phil South start proceedings with a tight groove, and are joined by Dawid Główczewski and Pawlik in a funky lead riff. Very reminiscent of 80s fusion, the track becomes denser for a rich, soaring chorus, before a soft, modulated lead from Mike Stern that evolves into a full overdriven guitar solo, followed by solos from Pawlik and Kennedy.

This sets the tone for the rest of the album, as extended improvisation is a staple on many of the tracks. On Greg’s Walk, Pawlik’s synth, as well as Brecker’s flügelhorn and Główczewski’s alto saxophone, improvise winding melodies over a mostly electronic track, and Stern joins in for the second half in clean unison with the synth and then with a wailing fusion solo.

In contrast, the fifth track, Planet X, simply features Pawlik and drummer Gary Novak, who has played with jazz icons from George Benson to Allan Holdsworth. It opens with vast effects and creeping synth, Novak’s rhythm underpinning a complex electronic arrangement over which Pawlik solos first on piano, then synth. Novak and Weckl are the well-known drummers on the album but a third, Cezary Konrad, provides superb compound-time beats on Accidental Oddity, and a light, laidback rhythm on the final track Suspensions.

Pawlik’s album is excellent, bringing out the best of the fusion era while remaining new and innovative. Fans of the album’s various musicians will no doubt enjoy it, as will those looking for some original and contemporary jazz.

Discography
Indian Garden; A Matter Of Urgency; Jellyfish; For Odd’s Sake; Planet X; Reflection; Greg’s Walk; Suspensions (63.55)
Łukasz Pawlik (p, syn, kyb, clo, elec); Gary Novak, Dave Weckl, Cezary Konrad (d); Randy Brecker (t, flh); Tom Kennedy, Michał Kapczuk (b); Dawid Główczewski (as, ss); Mike Stern (elg); Szymon Kamykowski (ts); Phil South (pc). No location, 2019-2021.
Summit Records DCD782