0018(001) Marcin Masecki – Scarlatti

Marcin Masecki – Scarlatti
  • Marcin Masecki - grand piano, piano

I have been performing the European classical music and jazz in a broad - very broad - sense since I can remember. Those were the two pillars of my education, which now have become my main carthorses. In musical schooling, though, as well as in a large part of the official professional discourse a distinct boundary is drawn between the "classical" and "light" music. This boundary is obviously artificial, yet its consequences can be fatal for musicians. What results is a commonly tolerated nonsense: music academies train instrumental virtuosos who are unable to improvise, whereas improvisers often lack the basic knowledge of the history and theory of music, which doubtlessly would enrich their voice. Subtle complexes manifesting in both environments are another, albeit less obvious, side effect of this artificial distinction. Classically trained musicians, exhausted and embarrassed by perpetually playing dead men's scores, willingly get at jazz adaptations of the pieces they have played 72324678909 times each. Jazzmen, on the other hand, abashed by their deficiencies in artisanship and "profundity", boost their confidence by means of all sorts of stylistic swerves and pseudo-classical auras. Such maneuvers, as one might expect, have a terrible effect as they arise from the need to cover up the pathology rather than from a creative impulse.

"Tribute to Marek & Wacek", an album I recorded in 1998 with my then professor Andrzej Jagodziński, was my first stab at fusing "classical" music with "jazz". That attempt was pervaded with the mechanisms described above. I was fifteen and deep stuck in the system which separated jazz from classical music. So from the artistic point of view (my current artistic point of view), that album is of little value. I would take a classic hit like "Peer Gynt" or an overture to William Tell and apply jazz rhythms to it, that was the whole trick. Later on, subconsciously traumatized by this experience, I decided not to blend my two passions but to develop each in separation from the other. Certainly, my performance of the classical genres would draw from my experience with jazz and vice versa, but none of it happened on a conscious level.

I came round to my senses a year ago when I was practicing Scarlatti's sonatas. As I was working on the pieces, an intellectual tension would build up and find an unexpected vent in a blast of unconditioned deconstruction of a given phrase followed by a few seconds of carefree improvisation which let my brain cool off. Moments later I would stretch my fingers and go back to working on the score. On one occasion I just "heard" one of those deconstructions. I took note of it, registered it. A technical fart has turned into a musical event. I realized it could be a valuable thing, a natural method of amalgamating the two worlds in which I had been living. The said deconstructions were related to and resulted from the score rather than from some exterior filtering as was the case with the "Tribute to Marek and Wacek". They stemmed from the very sonatas; in a sense, they were an extension of Scarlatti's ideas.

This discovery took me just a step away from an official artistic proposition which has materialized in the form of this album. Obviously, the project is neither closed nor complete. It is rather the beginning of a process, the opening move for a creative fusion of classical music and jazz. I hope one day to be able to fuse them so well that the demarcation line between the two will vanish without a trace.
(Marcin Masecki)