MICHAŁ SOBKOWIAK (b.198?): 9 Piano Paraphrases on Chopin Mazurkas, Letter to Chopin.
Catalogue Number: 09T082
Description: Sobkowiak is a Polish pianist-composer who lives in Japan, is an ardent admirer of Chopin, and whose career has mainly been as a jazz pianist. Most of his recorded output to date has been in the field of jazz (not infrequently using Chopin's pieces as a starting point), but this homage has a slightly different emphasis. These Paraphrases start with a specific Mazurka, the material of which is then expanded and elaborated upon as a jazz pianist might do with a 'standard', except that these composed pieces, all between 2 and 3 times the duration of the original mazurka, don't sound improvised, and repeatedly return to the theme or figuration of the source material. Sobkowiak's idiom and harmonies are those of jazz, but he gives his venerated mentor in absentia equal billing, alongside hints of other Romantic piano masters. Attractively executed, but definitely a hybrid rather than transcription or fantasia in the usual sense. Michał Sobkowiak (piano).