Saturday, July 1, 2017

Eskaubei & Tomek Nowak Quartet – Tego Chciałem (2016)

Eskaubei & Tomek Nowak Quartet

Eskaubei - rap
Tomek Nowak - trumpet, flugelhorn
Kuba Płużek - keyboards
Alan Wykpisz - bass
Mateusz Śliwa - tenor saxophone
Filip Mozul - drums

Tego Chciałem


By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Polish Rap and Jazz ensemble which finds rapper Bartłomiej Skubisz (a.k.a. Eskaubei) combining forces with a Jazz quartet led by trumpeter Tomek Nowak, which also includes pianist Kuba Płużek, bassist Alan Wykpisz and drummer Filip Mozul. This time they are also supported by DJ Wojciech Długosz (a.k.a. Mr. Krime) who performs turntablism, saxophonist Mateusz Śliwa and vocalist Patrycja Zarychta. A couple of guest musicians appear on one track. Together the ensemble performs ten original songs, seven of which were composed by Nowak, two by Płużek and one by Mozul (an instrumental intro). Skubisz wrote the lyrics to all nine songs and was helped out by the guest on one of them.

This album continues the direction set by its predecessor, which combines Funky Groovy Jazz tunes with Rap. In contrast to most attempts of such amalgamation, in which the musical content is rather limited and mostly very sketchy not to say primitive, this album offers a series of excellent full fledged compositions, which easily hold their own ground musically. This is even more emphasized on this album with the addition of Śliwa and expanding the quartet into a quintet on about half of the tunes. The Rap elements, although occupying a separate plane, are fully integrated within the musical structures. The turntablism, courtesy of Mr. Krime, who is prominently featured on the album, brings this album up to date with updated sound trends

The instrumental work by the quartet/quintet is excellent from start to finish. Nowak plays superb soulful/funky phrases, Śliwa adds strength creating a brass section feel and soul when he plays solo, Płużek plays absolutely wicked keyboards, using a plethora of sounds and groovy touches, Wykpisz, who is a wonderful Jazz bassist, turns here into a wizard of Funk and Groove and finally Mozul takes care of the rhythmic continuum, steady as a rock and devilishly inventive; in short a dream team!

The Rap, which in fact is more a form than contents, turns out to be a recitation of Poetry, which deals with a wide range of subject matter, which Skubisz and his generation are facing in this strange and cruel world, which is consistently becoming less human. The lyrics are often bitter and frustrating, but from time to time also touch upon dreams and hope. They are a great example how one can express protest and anger without using even one four (or in Polish five) letter word.

Overall this is another great album by Skubisz and his cohorts, proving that their debut effort was not just a lucky coincidence. The Rap and Jazz concept is again proven to be valid and creatively sound and the execution is once more just right on the money. Hopefully the Artists involved in this project will develop the idiom further in their future recordings, and in the meantime we are happy to enjoy this excellent effort. Well done again!

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