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Tubis Trio: So Us

Geno Thackara By

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There are so many acts that are easy not to notice—yes, even in the jazz world where just about everybody is under the radar in some way—but this Polish piano trio still seems more of a buried treasure than most. They've quietly built an impressively smart catalogue almost in secret, like an out- of-the-way quality restaurant that earns irresistible word of mouth even if you don't see its name on billboards. Pianist Maciej Tubis, bassist Paweł Puszczało and drummer Przemysław Pacan were already an impressive unit on their studio debut, which itself was built on almost a decade in action together. With their third outing in as many years, they raise the roof more than ever without losing the upbeat warmth underneath.

With The Truth (Challenge Records, 2017) and the slightly punchier Flashback (AudioCave, 2018), Tubis Trio whipped tinges of classic jazz and ear-friendly hooks into a lighthearted blend which can comfortably appeal to jazz cats and pop-rock listeners alike. For a natural yet startling step, So Us keeps the approachability (even through some challenging harmonics) while ramping the energy up to full throttle.

The rowdiest points find Tubis pounding the keys like a madman while Pacan's drums approach levels of rock and thrash. "Secret Agent" feels like a score for some high-octane spy thriller, while "Wednesday It Is" has all three flailing with bull-in-a-china-shop recklessness. In other spots the group can turn on a 10-groszy piece with perfect smoothness; their energetic gliding is downright graceful through "Binary Parade," while the hooks of "Barfly Dougie" show hints of cabaret. "Komorebi Now" evokes contemplative shades of Bill Evans, sitting at mid-set like a calm sunbeam-filled clearing in the center of the wild woods.

Brash as it can get, So Us still keeps a fundamental brightness to reinforce its theme of unity. (Could the album title be a reference to the albums So and Us by Peter Gabriel, another proponent of that ethic? It's anyone's guess...) The connection is made audible not just in the songs' body-shaking energy, but also the trio's tightness as they cheerfully dash through each razor-sharp run. They follow some clear predecessors such as the Esbjorn Svensson Trio in crossing jazz with more modern forms—heck, if every e.s.t. fan could hear the Tubis Trio, they'd explode overnight—but these fellows already have a sound that stands apart. They offer an intense and delightful listen, equally determined to keep challenging themselves and to make sure everybody has a great time.

Track Listing: So Us; Barfly Dougie; Secret Agent; Wednesday It Is; Komorebi Now; Binary Parade; Quantum Junkie; Up and About.

Personnel: Maciej Tubis: piano; Paweł Puszczało: double bass; Przemysław Pacan: drums.

Title: So Us | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Audio Cave

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