“Live at the 55 Bar”
www.janekgwizdala.comMost of us are, by now, familiar with the facility and abilities of New York’s Janek Gwizdala (ok, he’s a Brit by birth… but we’ve got him now!). Janek has made quite a name for himself in NYC writing, producing and playing with the best the city has to offer (including Mike Stern, JoJo Mayer, Randy Brecker and a host of other top tier guys).I have a special addiction to live recordings. There is an energy and power that happens live that exists nowhere else. I’ll take a first gig ever live with a good crowd to a band that spends a month in the studio any day… but that’s just me. Many of us should also be familiar with the legendary 55 Bar (located in the Village). This is the spot where, any night of the week, you can see the world’s best musicians playing, hanging and checking out the scene. A dive bar with Mike Stern or Wayne Krantz on a Wednesday night?… yep, that’s the SPOT. For that reason, this recording was even more intriguing for me.
I was not disappointed in the least. I will say that I was surprised to hear such a “live” sounding recording. It’s a 2-track recording and it very much sounds like a few room mic’s were all that were used. That being said…. Everything and everyone comes through crystal clear. Everyone’s tone is there, it’s well balanced and you don’t feel like you’re not hearing the whole picture. You feel more like you’re at a funky old table about 4 feet from the musicians.
I have 3 things which I LOVE about this album. Janek’s writing and restraint, Tim Miller on guitar and Elliot Mason on trombone. Don’t misunderstand… everyone on this recording plays their butts off in a big way. But, if you haven’t had the pleasure, both Tim Miller and Eliot Mason are two of the most dynamic, intriguing and articulate soloists emerging in the scene. Janek is also (of course) in full effect with some wonderfully melodic solos, solid bass playing and musical compositions.
Definitely a must have for Bass lovers, music lovers and anyone who digs that NYC sound.