12on14-review

March 4th, 2017 – Saturday – 8:30 PM

MACIEJ TUBIS TRIO

Maciej Tubis (p), Paweł Puszczało (db), Przemysław Pacan (dr)

Maciej Tubis Trio, associating musicians from Łódź and Warsaw, has existed since 2006. Its current members are pianist Maciej Tubis, double bass player Paweł Puszczało (who replaced Marcin Lamch) and drummer Przemysław Pacan. It is one of the most internationally recognizable Polish bands. It has garnered excellent reviews and performed successfully in the best European clubs and concert halls. Its album “Live in Luxembourg” was named one of the world’s most important jazz albums of 2009 by international critics. Now, after four years of concerts, two live albums and confrontations with international audience, the musicians are coming back with their first studio album. “The Truth” will be published in Western Europe in autumn 2017. The publisher’s name has not been disclosed yet, but we know it is going to be a major surprise. “The Truth” is meant as a mature, emotional tale of life. In several premeditated compositions, balancing at the intersection of various genres, the musicians concentrate on the music performed and leave space for a concise, colourful tale – and for the message that exceeds it. As the pianist Maciej Tubis said in one of his interviews, “The word ‘jazz’ imposes too many limits and classifications. We create compositions with melodious themes and unpredictable forms. Classicist polyphonies evolve into rock ostinatos. We draw inspiration from all musical styles, from various periods, we sometimes use pop themes… The most important thing for me is communicating emotions. Every concert is a very deep experience for me and I’m happy that I can play live. I concentrate only on the music, I give myself absolute freedom, I capture the moment in its spontaneity. The audience surrenders to that magic and always reacts impulsively…”

When Maciej Tubis immediately confirmed the truthfulness of his words, staring the concert with the daring “Monday On My Way”. He imposed a narrative style, compared by some to the famous E.S.T., and ravished the audience with his technique, which some compare to Brad Mehldau’s. However, a few more compositions were enough to abandon all such comparisons. Indeed, the level of technical mastery, including the extraordinary ability to shade the sound (like in the phenomenal ballad “It’s Beautiful Winter Out There”) and the motor skills of the left hand in the sophisticated composition “Tokio” evoke associations with the genius of jazz giants, but they are undoubtedly a quality in and of themselves, quite easily distinguishable – Tubis’s piano music is so affected by his individual style that it is virtually impossible to mistake it with any other. The same is true for compositions. The wanderings across various genres are subject to strict discipline imposed by the composer’s intentions and constitute an indispensable element of the architecture of the work. It is true that Maciej Tubis, as a composer, has an exceptional gift for creating melodic lines whose parts still sound in the musical memory of the audience long after they stop playing – like the theme of “Diminished World”, which concluded the first part of the concert – but they have nothing to do with simple, commonplace tunes. They are more like a key, provided to the listener by the composer, allowing to entangle the densely intertwined harmonic meanders, changes of tempo, experiments in orchestration, featuring variable piano and double bass dominants. The wonderful interplay between the two instruments, supported by dense and alert drumming, enables the audience to relish the openings of subsequent fragments of compositions, during which musicians inspire each other, guiding the composition along its way, to return to the primary theme for a while and then begin another improvisation together. A typical feature here is the lack of double bass and drum solos within the typical meaning of the term. As a matter of fact, they are quite abundant – but played simultaneously with the music of the entire trio. Somehow, it does not result in an aesthetic mess – just the opposite, the harmonic order and the exceptional discipline of the performers are fascinating. The first three compositions opening the second part of the concert fully confirm these words – the only exception is the virtuoso show of the phenomenal Paweł Puszczało in “Augmented Reality”, even though the latter was also based on the disciplinary piano riffs and on the rock rhythm of the drums of the excellent Przemysław Pacan. After the works elaborated for the album “The Truth”, Maciej Tubis returned to his oldest composition, the beautiful, atmospheric “Retrospekcja”, which has been included on each of his albums released so far. Once again the audience was delighted by the exceptional piano, delicate like the touch of butterfly wings. Then came “Karate” – and once again, the organic creation of strictly jazz structures, within the meaning of the current definition of jazz, which dominate over each and every composition of Maciej Tubis. Even if the wanderings across various genres constitute an indispensable element of each composition, they also provide it with an element indispensable to each truly jazz composition – the rhythm! The rhythm encouraged, if not dancing, then at least thumping (during “Karate”, the audience spontaneously started to clap to a trance rhythm!) Dance rhythm is another element through which Maciej Tubis comes back to the sources of jazz, never once failing to implement all the postulates of the modern syncopated music. The atmospheric “Alter Ego” which followed the daring “Karate” is an example of a piano ballad at a level exceeding mastery. Played with an astonishingly broad colour palette, shaded in the most minute details, it makes the head spin, and the pearly sounds of improbable passages sound like a dream about the perfect pianist. The hit “Triceratops” concludes the magical concert, filled with the music so beautiful, complete and perfect, performed with such technical mastery, that even the most heartfelt wishes of stunning international career sound like a truism. The album “The Truth”, expected this autumn, will certainly be an international sensation, and Maciej Tubis will once again become a great name in the world of jazz! Without any unnecessary connotations and associations! Maciej Tubis is no-one but Maciej Tubis! And may it stay this way!!!

“Tokio”, repeated as an encore, exploded with double power, as it ended with a storm of applause of an intensity unheard for a long time! That is the way superb concerts end! And this concert was superb indeed!

Setlist (all compositions by Maciej Tubis)

Set I

1/. Monday On My Way

2/. I Forgot The Plot

3/. Road Runner

4/. It’s Beautiful Winter Out There

5/. Peloponnese

6/. Tokio

7/. Diminished World

Set II

1., Seven Heavens

2/. 2:31 PM

3/. Augmented Reality

4/. Retrospekcja

5/. Karate

6/. Alter Ego

7/. Triceratops

Encore

-/. Tokio

(Photo & text © by Tomasz Pierchała)