About the album
There is serendipity about Joachim Kühn and Mateusz Smoczyński having combined. Their musical conversations are sparked off by catchy little themes or motifs. Dialogues evolve freely, but also have a real sense of focus. Pulse and breathing seem to be as one. The pair have the courage to set off wherever their combined fantasy and imagination will take them, finding all kinds of moods and emotions along the way. On “Speaking Sound”, the sounds do indeed speak for themselves. Jazz has always been about what musicians have to say through their instruments and about developing a personal sound. Kühn and Smoczyński do this in a way that is not just congenial but also completely enthralling. Both have roots in classical music: the pianist grew up in Bach’s town of Leipzig, and the violinist, four decades younger than him, is a graduate of the Frédéric Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw. The principle that the European classical tradition can come alive through the expressive possibilities of jazz is part of the creative essence of both of these musicians.
Kühn and Smoczyński appeared for the first time together on stage in 2009 at the Polish premiere of Zbigniew Seifert’s Violin Concerto in Kraków. At a repeat performance of the work in 2018 in Katowice, Joachim Kühn was delighted to discover how superbly the violinist’s playing had developed. After duo improvisations in the dressing room of the Philharmonic Hall in Katowice, Kühn suggested they should do a recording together at his home on Ibiza. So, five months later, in April 2019, Mateusz Smoczyński stood with his violin alongside Joachim Kühn seated at the Steinway. Relaxed and enjoying vistas of the salt flats at the southern tip of the island and of the sea beyond, they recorded music for 4 1/2 hours with virtually no re-takes. This album captures some of the most impressive moments from that session. Their dialogues are somehow luminous. There is eloquence without ever being garrulous, beautiful sound but an avoidance of any descent into triviality. Two musicians who inspire and trust each other have found repose and clarity in a world that has lost its bearings.