‘Space Jazz’ – Inwardness

THE MEMORY remains vivid of three musicians taking to the stage at 2017’s Manchester Jazz Festival, where an intimate gathering had little or no preconception of what they might experience; and, in many ways, neither had the performers. Inwardness comprises Davy Sur, David Amar, Maciek Pysz – and their vision is to create improvised soundscapes both from and using the space around them.

Read my full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 11 May 2018 and available from Ozella Music, Amazon, Apple Music, etc.


Davy Sur drums, percussion
David Amar soprano saxophone, synthesiser, electronic effects
Maciek Pysz electric guitar, classical guitar, effects


Ozella Music – OZ085CD (2018)

‘Transitions’ – Julian Costello Quartet


THE THREE subtle soprano sax keys on Julian Costello’s album cover hint at the assiduous craftsmanship which he applies, both compositionally and in performance, to this new quartet release, Transitions; and entirely appropriate that he’s joined by the similarly focused minds of guitarist Maciez Pysz, double bassist Yuri Goloubev and drummer/percussionist Adam Teixeira.

Read the full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 15 September 2017 and available from 33 Jazz and Amazon.


Julian Costello tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Maciek Pysz electric guitar, classical guitar
Yuri Goloubev double bass
Adam Teixeira drums, percussion


33 Jazz Records – 33JAZZ268 (2017)

‘A Journey’ – Maciek Pysz


A TRAVELOGUE of refined chamber jazz, acoustic guitarist Maciek Pysz’s new release A Journey meanders, eddies and dances afresh to European jazz and world/folk atmospheres.

Read the full review at LondonJazz News…


Maciek Pysz acoustic and classical guitars
Yuri Goloubev double bass (and piano on Always on the Move)
Asaf Sirkis drums and percussion
Daniele di Bonaventura bandoneon, piano


Dot Time Records – DT9044 (2015)

‘If I was to describe you’ – Monika Lidke


WARMTH AND BEAUTY, matching the Summer mood, pervade the air around me as I listen to an endearing and heartfelt new release, If I was to describe you, from Polish songstress Monika Lidke. Now resident in London, this collection of self-composed soft jazz/folk songs reflects Lidke’s Polish and French personas, each of its fourteen tracks imbued with appealing honesty, freshness and lyrical accomplishment.

An album made possible by an enthusiastic Kickstarter response, Lidke employs an enviable team of musicians to bring to life her very personal collection of life experiences and observations – and it’s very much the congruous compositional attention to detail in both words and music which grabs the attention, as well as the clear, fluent vocal delivery. Kristian Borring (guitars), Tim Fairhall (double bass) and Chris Nickolls (drums) provide the principal instrumental line-up, but there are contributions throughout from Maciek Pysz, Shez Raja, Mark Rose and many others who ensure a refreshingly eclectic recording.

Monika Lidke’s vocal tone possesses a silky richness, with crystal-clear diction, as demonstrated in the soft, bluesy opener They Say. It has a suppleness, too, which matches well the prominent electric bass grooving of Janek Gwizdala, Kristian Borring’s light guitar accompaniment and the ticking rhythm maintained by drummer Chris Nickolls. The more folksy title number If I was to describe you – a song of love or deep friendship – has a charm which is enhanced by cello and vibes, as well as Lidke’s beautifully layered harmonies; and carefree Tum tum song, with Polish lyric shared by Basia Trzetrzelewska, bounces along with gently effervescing amiability.

Already, then, it’s clear that Lidke displays an aptitude for carefully combining words with appropriate musical styles and rhythms – yet the varied tracklist coalesces well, with a proliferation of melodic hooks. Light under the bruises explores further themes of closeness (“I lift you up just to show you a new horizon”) – then, out of the blue… the jaunty-but-delicate Funny little dance swings to Mark Rose’s double bass and Maciek Pysz’s guitar embellishments; and with all the positivity and pace of a ’70s Gordon Giltrap hit (which could quite easily be an up-tempo interpretation of a traditional French folk song), Ensemble flows briskly to the electric bass of Shez Raja – feel-good factor ten!

The delicacy of Rozpalona kolyska is exquisite, Lidke vocalising in tandem with Borring’s tight guitar melodies, Fairhall and Nickolls providing the feathery double bass and drum motion. In contrast, Monika’s sunshiny love song of gratitude, Waves and curves, displays unabashed ‘pop’ folkiness; and the cheerful, cheeky Questions gênantes (Awkward questions) is irresistible in its trad. quirkiness, Borring pitching a suitably nimble guitar lead against the chirpy rhythm section. Bread on toast, a Jobimesque samba which eddies gorgeously to Kristian Borring’s rhythmic guitar, shows off both the purity and dexterity of Lidke’s vocals, whilst Footprints on the seashore revisits the writer’s easy-going pop/folk lyric and sound world (“We’re dangerous and beautiful; we make impressions that only last as long as ripples on the water”).

Oceany lez is another graceful Polish ballad which Lidke delivers with appealing simplicity; and the following Higher self swirls to the singer’s joyful assurance. Finally, self-accompanied on guitar, plus heavenly electric bass harmonics from Shez Raja (a wife and husband thing!), the miniature Kolysanka dla Janka holds the breath with its crystalline beauty… a fitting conclusion to an album which reflects a passion for songwriting, all delivered by a golden voice.

If I was to describe you launches in the UK at Pizza Express, Soho, London on 2 July 2014, released on 33JAZZ – check out a studio video of They Say, and audio taster compilation of the album.


Monika Lidke vocals, acoustic guitar
Basia Trzetrzelewska vocals
Janek Gwizdala bass guitar
Kristian Borring guitars, arrangements of tracks 1, 4, 7, 8 & 11
Tim Fairhall double bass
Mark Rose double bass
Chris Nickolls drums
Shez Raja bass guitar
Genevieve Wilkins vibraphone, percussion
Maciek Pysz acoustic guitar
Adam Spiers cello
Jerzy Bielski acoustic guitar
Paul Reynolds mandolin


33JAZZ – 33JAZZ242 (2014)

‘Insight’ – Maciek Pysz Trio


SO… WHERE HAVE I BEEN with this review of Maciek Pysz Trio’s ‘Insight’? Well, probably reclining on a sunlounger, soaking up both the Summer sunshine and the perfectly-attuned sounds from this delightful release by guitarist Maciek Pysz, with Asaf Sirkis (drums & percussion) and Yuri Goloubev (double bass).

It is a long time since I have heard guitar-playing with quite so much precision, assuredness and musicality – and Pysz’s technique will no doubt be compared to jazz and jazz/rock greats Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin, such is the impassioned fluidity of the performances here. The nine self-penned tracks (one in collaboration with Italian guitarist Gianluca Corona) demonstrate the Polish-born guitarist’s considerable compositional skills, taking us on a journey of differing moods, emotions and influences. And employing acoustic and classical guitars, Pysz is able to skilfully present his jazz – always accessible, yet technically and emotively breathtaking – with luminous Spanish, Latin and Brazilian character.

This writing and playing would be impressive enough in its own right. But Maciek Pysz has chosen two of the most intuitive and sensitive players on the scene to take this music into a three-dimensional sphere. Asaf Sirkis, already known for his huge contribution in the jazz world (Gilad Atzmon, John Law, Alex Hutton) provides drums and percussion courtesy of his original, handmade kit (used to such great effect in Tim Garland’s Lighthouse Trio). Incorporating hand drums, cymbals and the depth of the beautiful Udu, Sirkis creates his own soundworld – as mesmerising to watch as to hear – with the gorgeous timbres and rhythms he coaxes from this unusual percussive grouping. Bassist Yuri Goloubev, a regular performer alongside Sirkis, brings his own distinctive expression to this recording – he shows absolute empathy with and musical respect for the trio concept, nimbly matching Pysz with scampering runs as well as offering his very personal, singing arco style.

The whole programme flows beautifully, with the upbeat ‘Those Days’ immediately revealing how integrated this trio sound is. Frequently Pysz and Goloubev ‘become one’, guitar and bass equalling each other both in similarity of tone and accuracy of movement. Sirkis is characteristically ‘on it’ from start to finish, providing perfect rhythmic support with all his customary (and effortless, he would have us believe!) spark and flair – check out his genius on ‘Blue Water’. ‘Amici’, with deft soloing from Goloubev, has a slightly bittersweet tinge, leading to the summer breeze of ‘Lost in London’. ‘Insights’, a track perhaps more classical in feel, has all three players contributing to its exhilarating momentum. Goloubev then provides a sublime and lyrical arco melody to the gentle ‘Moody Leaf’, and the Rothko-inspired ‘Maroon’ shimmers with melding guitar and bass lines. The haunting ‘Steps of Time’ soon breaks into a pacey, ticking Latin dance, Sirkis again the perfect rhythm-maker who inspires the whole trio into a brilliant shared frenzy – arresting stuff! Closing with azure beauty, ‘Under the Sky’ ebbs and flows gracefully, Pysz’s guitar melody and accompaniment so serene, Sirkis subtly embelleshing on Udu.

Recorded at the famed Italian studios of Artesuono, and employing the world-class talent of respected engineer Stefan Amerio, the sound balance is impeccable – pin-sharp clarity throughout. One might choose to half-listen to ‘Insight’ during a heat-induced siesta, though I recommend close and full attention to these extraordinary musicians who demonstrate their obvious connection with each other to produce a genuine and elegant collection of Summer sounds. See Maciek’s website for live appearances – I very much look forward to their Kings Place Festival gig in September 2013.

Maciek Pysz  acoustic and classical guitars
Asaf Sirkis  drums and percussion
Yuri Goloubev  double bass


33JAZZ – 33JAZZ231 (2013)