"3 Short Stories" review by John Chacona
European-born players such as Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin and Jean-Luc Ponty bought early tickets on the fusion train. Polish-born pianist Bartosz Hadala keeps it rolling on “Three Short Stories.” His athletic, Toronto-based band touches the usual bases: bigfoot funk, technical brilliance and pretty balladry. Cuban-born alto saxophonist Luis Deniz adds some welcome spice and drummer Marito Marques locks down the Steely Dan vibe with the Pretty Purdie triplet shuffle feel under Hadala’s playful “Monk’s Unfinished Symphony.” If fusion music has two sides, both earth and sky, body and spirit, “Three Short Stories” honors the former.
A note from Michael Manring
"I'm so proud to have contributed to Bartosz Hadala's amazing recording, "Three Short Stories." The music is sophisticated and passionate and all the players are fantastic. This is true 21st Century creative improvised music and I hope you'll check it out!"
"Three Short Stories" review by Scott Yanow
Pianist-composer Bartosz Hadala was born in Poland, studied music from a young age, and was part of competitions and festivals. After studying music at the Odessa Conservatory in the Ukraine and Western Michigan University, in 2003 he moved to New York where he worked with many top musicians including Randy Brecker, Antonio Sanchez and Jon Irabagon. In 2010 he relocated to Toronto and has since released several albums as a leader.
Three Short Stories has ten of Hadala’s unpredictable post-bop originals. The episodic music, which ranges between straight ahead and lightly funky grooves, sometimes in the same chorus, challenges the musicians who sound consistently inspired by the material. In addition to the leader on piano, the band includes altoist Luis Deniz, guitarist Eric St-Laurent, bass guitarist Brad Cheeseman, and drummer Marito Marques with guest appearances by soprano-saxophonist Kelly Jefferson, bass guitarist Michael Manring and João Frade on accordion.
After Manring is featured on the laidback yet adventurous “Prologue: Slow To Anger,” the core band stretches out on “True North X” which has a heated alto-guitar tradeoff, and “Once Upon A Time” which sounds like something Wayne Shorter could have written. “Monk’s Unfinished Symphony” (a great title!) is happily eccentric with guitarist St-Laurent in the spotlight. Other highlights include the leader’s fine solo on “Longing,” the joyfully funky “EST,” Jefferson’s exuberant soprano playing on the cooking “A Letter To My Father,” the sophisticated piano solo on “Three Short Stories,” and a witty and literally offbeat “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider Blues.”
Three Short Stories is inventive modern mainstream jazz and a strong step forward for Bartosz Hadala, a musician who deserves to be better known.
"The Runner Up" review by Paul J. Youngman, All About Jazz
"The Runner Up is a strong debut for Bartosz Hadala. The inclusion of a powerful front line in trumpeter Brecker and saxophonist Rovatti, along with the ever-present and tasteful drumming of Antonio Sanchez and inspirational bass playing from both Noriko Ueda and Dave Anderson, make this one of the year's best records".
"The Runner Up" review by Brad Walseth
"With a somewhat Pilc-like melodic touch and a Monk-on-steroids rhythm feel, Hadala consistently surprises with his unique directions".
"The Runner Up" review by Adam Baruch
This is the debut album (in the Jazz field) by Polish pianist / composer Bartosz Hadala, currently residing in Canada. The album was recorded with the help of six excellent Jazz musicians, playing in different settings: trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Ada Rovatti, bassists Dave Anderson (electric) and Noriko Ueda (acoustic), drummer Antonio Sanchez and percussionist Kevin Garcia. The album includes nine original compositions by Hadala and one standard.
The music is mainstream modern Jazz, with clear melody lines and classic instrumentation approach, which clearly places the album in the American rather than European Jazz category. It is perfectly executed, with many excellent solos and professionalism evident at every step. The compositions are truly first-rate, and are the strongest asset of this album. Hadala´s piano playing is absolutely wonderful, elegant and expressive but perhaps slightly too conventional for more advanced listeners. Nevertheless the overall level of the music and especially the compositions are praiseworthy.
The album´s versatile settings, from a classic piano trio to a sextet, and the interesting compositions, which are excellent vehicles for the musicians´ improvisations, make it a pleasurable listening experience, highly recommended to mainstream Jazz connoisseurs. Hopefully Hadala will record another album soon, as his music is too good to be undiscovered.