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KUBA PLUZEK ~ FIRST ALBUM
V 003 (Barcode: 5903111377021) ~ POLAND ~ Jazz

Recorded: 2012 Released: 2014

This is the debut album by young Polish Jazz pianist / composer Kuba PluzekFind albums by this artist, recorded partly in a trio setting with bassist Max MuchaFind albums by this artist and drummer Dawid FortunaFind albums by this artist and partly as a quartet which adds saxophonist Marek PospieszalskiFind albums by this artist to the trio. The album presents seven original compositions, all by Pluzek, three of which are parts of an extended three-part suite.

After just a few moments it becomes immediately apparent that this is a very unusual album in every respect. The music is simply "different" from anything else one usually hears on a Jazz recording today. It is melodic, but the melody is often quite elusive; it is rhythmic, but the rhythm keeps changing constantly; it dresses up as modern mainstream, but in fact it is almost completely Free at times. All those factors create a confusing haze at the first exposure, but very soon it all begins to make a perfect sense. However, this music never rests and keeps an attentive listener on his toes at all times, as anything can and most probably will happen while this music evolves.

The individual performances are all first rate, which is hardly surprising to people familiar with the Polish Jazz scene and previous recordings by the musicians involved, except the leader of course, who is a novice. Surprisingly it is the saxophonist that gets the most exposure and his convulsive solos fit the music perfectly. Pluzek plays along splendidly, arm in arm with the rhythm section, inserting complex chords and odd timed vamps, but he solos sparingly and when he does play solos, those are rather minimalistic as far as the number of separate notes present, being more chords oriented. Even on the trio pieces the bass and drums seem to bee actually often busier than the piano, which sort of "leads from behind".

The bass / drums team plays a much more significant role in this particular music than usually in Jazz, as the music is mostly based on a vamping pattern that is held and driven by them. Both instruments are recorded with strong presence and high up in the mix, which also adds to the overall sonic "strangeness". They both do a splendid job for sure. It seems that the leader wanted to present a team effort rather than boast his ego, which is commendable and honorable.

Overall this is a very impressive album, which of course is very rare these days, as it becomes more and more difficult to be unique, inventive and yes, impressive. Considering that we are talking about a debut, this is even more important. It is difficult to say if Pluzek will indeed become the great hope of Polish Jazz, as the PR material accompanying this album announces, but he certainly enters the ring with a bang; only time will tell, of course, but he deserves our best wishes. Well done indeed!
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