Sunday, March 10, 2019

Kuba Płużek – Creationism (2018)

Kuba Płużek

Kuba Płużek – piano, fender rhodes, wurlitzer, harmona 85, korg
Marek Pospieszalski – tenor saxophone, alto clarinet
Max Mucha – double bass
Dawid Fortuna – drums



By Adam Baruch

This is the fourth album as a leader by the young (born 1988) Polish Jazz pianist/composer Kuba Płużek and his third recording with the same quartet, which also includes saxophonist Marek Pospieszalski, bassist Max Mucha and drummer Dawid Fortuna. The album presents fifteen relatively/untypically short compositions, nine of which were composed by Pluzek, three were co-composed by him with Pospieszalski and another three were co-composed by all the members of the quartet, although "composed" has to be taken with a grain of salt, as in fact all except two of the pieces on the album are improvised and Płużek "admits" to composing only two of the pieces, which appear towards the very end of the album.

Płużek, who first appeared on the Polish Jazz scene as a sideman in 2010 and recorded his debut album as a leader in 2012, took part in more than a dozen recordings since, which offer a chameleonic stylistic diversity, which could only mean either a complete lack of focus of an exceptional multi-layered musical talent, which in his case is definitely the latter. Even if one follows only his recordings as a leader, there is clear evidence that Płużek is trying to cover an unlimited (stylistically) ground in his search for the genius loci of his musical universe.

It is therefore not really surprising that Płużek should arrive in his quest of exploration to the very source of music, as the album's title suggests. The "primitivism" of sound before melody, harmony and rhythm took over, as he suggests in his comments about the music. One could of course say that the same process happened countless times before, when Jazz musicians abandoned the form in order to explore the source/spirit of music, moving from the traditional Jazz towards Free and Improvised Music, which in fact although commonly called avant-garde was in reality completely retro-garde.

The music on this album offers the listener a sublime journey, which is propelled more by hints and suggestions rather than by actual directions. It is up to the listener to create the music in his head, based on the "primitives", supplied by the musicians, except, as already stated earlier, in the case of the two fully developed compositions appearing towards the finale, which could be envisaged as the "Let there be light" of the creation process.

There is no doubt that Płużek consistently paves his way towards a respected position on the crowded Polish Jazz piano scene and this excellent album is definitely a step in the right direction. Perhaps this is a closing chapter in the initial chapter of his career, which now passes towards the mature stage when he leaves the boisterous "twenties" behind.

This album, recorded at the now already legendary Monochrom Studio, offers a spectacular sound quality in addition to the extraordinary music, and is of course wholeheartedly recommended to all Polish/European Jazz connoisseurs, who already know where truly great music comes from.

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