Maciek Pysz and Gianluca Corona – London Stories (2017)

Maciek Pysz and Gianluca Corona met briefly in the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milan and later at a jam session in an East London Jazz Bar. London Stories is the second collaborative album for these jazz guitarists, the first being Acustica in 2015.

Maciek Pysz is from Poland and has played with many great musicians, including drummer Asif Sirkis and bass player Yuri Goloubev, with whom he formed a trio. Tracks of his have been played on Jazz FM and BBC Radio 3. He has joined forces with sax player Tim Garland at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London and his debut album Insight proved a favorite with critics. He has recorded with Dot Time Records and 33Jazz Records.

Gianluca Corona has played venues including the Vortex in London. He has his own quartet and has made numerous recordings in collaboration with others. His new project with Pysz is a gentle musical journey, with compositions of varying style yet with an intrinsic connection in how they are played.

“Fresh Look,” the opening track from London Stories, is beautiful, atmospheric and with a smattering of shared chord progressions between the two guitar players. “Amici” has a Mediterranean feel, with a strolling lilt inbuilt to the texture and color painted by the interplay between the instruments. “Those Days” is gentle, with an over-arching theme picked out from acoustic guitar, delivered over a steady backdrop of strumming rhythms whilst the middle section concentrates on strong, deeper notes leading to a change in essence before the piece is out.

“Tower Block” is atmospheric and has some lovely strummed extensions which create a sense of space and timeless captured energy. “Story of a Story” has a ballad feel and is a intriguing narrative, full of interesting twists and turns. Meanwhile, “LHM” is very soothing and calming, the clarity of the playing becoming clearer as the track progresses.

“Desert” is announced with some case-knocking rhythms before the theme comes in with some creative string-tickling from Pysz over the steadfast rhythmic intricacies of Corona. “Red Door” closes out London Stories, and is a beautifully worked number with a gentleness of the theme contrasted by the changes in rhythms in the first third – and a subtle change of meter and swing, which is very engaging.

What comes across in London Stories is the closeness and interaction of Maciek Pysz and Gianluca Corona. Only two guitars, yet so many textures, changes and different emphasis. There is a little sameness which works its way throughout the tracks, and I found the best way to get the most from the album was to listen to it track by track – but it is beautiful, gentle, swaying and atmospheric at the same time.

The openness of the textures and clarity of the notes is inspirational. London Stories is one to put on, play, chill to and enjoy.

Sammy Stein

Sammy Stein

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Sammy Stein