Common Ground Preview

WOLAK/DONNELLY: One of the freshest-sounding new groups (or duos) we’ve heard in a while comprises Polish-born clarinettist KORNEL WOLAK and local jazz pianist/composer CHRIS DONNELLY. We’ve been fans of Donnelly’s imaginative solo work and, most recently, in jazz trio MYRIAD3, but had not been familiar with Wolak before.

CommonGround Album

He had been a member of internationally-acclaimed chamber music ensemble QUARTETO GELATO and works in the classical and chamber music realms. Considering their different musical backgrounds, it’s fitting that their first duo album is entitled Common Ground (just released on ALMA Records). In adventurous but always melodic fashion, the pair breathes fresh life into an astonishingly diverse repertoire. Where else would you hear compositions by OSCAR PETERSON, GEORGE GERSHWIN, BRAHMS, and RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (“The Flight Of The Bumblebee”) on a single disc?

There are two local performances coming up, on May 2 at Steinway Hall, (2651 John Street – Unit #8, Markham ON. Free with reservation: 905-940-5397), followed by an afternoon performance at Paul Hahn & Co. on May 4 (at 2 p.m.). Highly recommended.