Polish-American summit sees its participants wade in the sweet water of life with elegance and gusto.
If the idea of a jazz record titled “Rocker In Gumboots” seems too confusing as to evoke the incredulous “What’s the catch” before putting it on, the catchiness of the album’s seven pieces should render all the genre notions inessential. This temporary communion of a Kraków trio and their kindred spirit from Boston, captured live in 2019, was poised to ooze irresistible grooves, and that’s exactly what is preserved here on a bunch of originals and an obscure, if equally incendiary, cover. As far as sophomore offering go, then, “Bujaka w Gumiakach” has a thick air of promise about it.
There’s no protracted build-up towards the lightweight urgency of “It’s Still Early” whose infectiously raging riff reaches for the listener’s jugular as Sławomir Pezda’s slinky sax and Jakub Dworak’s muscular bass weave around each other in a fervent dance, while Max Olszewski’s drums lay down the playful boogie only to clear the space for the insistent, relentless blues “Wkrecony Na Maxa” where Dustin Carlson’s six strings try to come to the fore only to get buried in the cut’s percussive swirl. They succeed in the sparse “Złość” once angular guitar lines get bolstered by rhythmic patterns and burned by brass, only to bare the band’s punk attitude in “Speedball” – a multilayered piledriver of a track which will marry menace with a smile and a sting – and, later on, in a sizzling, vocals-smeared reading of “Dracula Mountain” from LIGHTNING BOLT’s repertoire.
Between these two numbers, the feverish, filigree jive that fuels the epic scope of “Chickpeas Madness” doesn’t feel excessively effusive, reining in the ensemble’s effervescent funk in favor of dancefloor moves – in turn jubilant, romantic and eerie, with a squealing soundscape thrown over the ever-shifting tune – and setting the scene for the titular chant which is wrapped in a rather wild instrumental, so perfect for the album’s chug of a finale. A fascinating effort to keep the initiated on their toes.