In June 2011 I wrote in my review of the debut album “Cinematic” from the Polish band Lebowski the following: “Lebowski has surprised me with this album. An album full of warm, romantic and beautiful music full of emotion”. Now six years later the band has released a live album with the title “Plays Lebowski”. It was recorded at Tennis Music Festival on 14.09.2016. To my surprise the band plays only two tracks from their debut album “Cinematic”. So we are treated with live performances of 7 new compositions. Except for the classical intro, all the compositions are from the duo Marcin Luczaj and Marcin Grzegorczyk.
Marcin Luczaj - keyboards, synths; Marcin Grzegorczyk - guitar; Marek Zak - bass; Krzysztof Pakula - drums
Special Guest: Dawid Glogowski - flugelhorn
The album opens with a short classical intro entitled “Marche pour la ceremonie des Turcs”, a composition of Jean-Baptiste Lully and Jordi Savall. Lully (his real name was Lulli) worked most of his life at the court of French king Louis XIV. So it was in the Barock period. Not sure about this but this piece is probably played by Marcin Luczaj on his keyboards. This classical atmosphere fits wonderfully well with the relaxed and Cinematic atmosphere of the rest of the album.
At this gig the band performed two compositions from that already mentioned debut album “Cinematic”. Title track “Cinematic” and “Iceland”. “Cinematic” includes original quotes adopted from a Polish film. The music is relaxed and full of melody. Cinematic keyboard layers, a sometimes jazzy guitar and a beautiful delicate piano part can be found in this composition. A powerful live interpretation of this fine composition. Another highlight of that “Cinematic” album was the song “Iceland”. It is also one of the band's favorites. The song is written around the voices of Zdzislaw Maklakiewicz and Roman Klosowski. The Polish language gives the piece that special Polish atmosphere. You can find some lovely piano parts in this track. You can hear that the audience loved this live version.
The next song “The Last King” has a powerful opening that is followed by some interesting synth parts. The synths are playing a big role in this first part of the composition. In the second part the guitar is more dominant. Together with the steady rhythm section the electric guitar is providing the powerful accents in this fine track. “Galactica” opens with delicate guitar and ambient piano melodies. Halfway the track the electric guitar becomes more dominant and the tension of the music is rising. The supporting keyboard orchestrations are great. Beautiful track with some great melodies.
The next track “Mirage Avenue” is also special. Love the delicate piano parts and the beautiful melodies. Special guest Dawid Glogowski plays a wonderful melody on the flugelhorn. What a beautiful composition this is, definitely one of my favorites of this fine album. This counts also for the next track “Goodbye My Joy”. The flugelhorn and the guitar gives the piece a jazzy character. Music that you could expect from an ECM release ... the music has also a Cinematic character. In the uplifting track “Buongiorno” the tension is slowly building up. Again we can enjoy the beautiful melodies. I love the relaxed atmosphere of the album.
Lovely synth melodies, guitar solo's and keyboard orchestrations in the next track “Mirador” that has also some Folklore influences. Nowhere the music becomes hectic ... just love it. The album comes to an end with the track “Once In A Blue Moo”. With a duration of almost nine minutes it is the longest track of the album. Marcin Grzegorczyk shines on this track with some great and melodic guitar parts that are support by broad orchestral keyboard layers. In the last part the band goes full throttle with some amazing drum work and a nice synth solo. Definitely one of the highlights of this fine album.
With “Plays Lebowski” the Polish band Lebowski meets all of my expectations. The band gives us two very fine performances of compositions that we can find on their debut album “Cinematic” and surprised me with seven new compositions. The music on this fine album is Cinematic, jazzy and has most of the time a laid back atmosphere. And the album has a kind of balance ... and that is a big compliment for a live recording. I find it very enjoyable to listen to this album. This band needs a broader audience, they deserve it. Just check it out for yourselves!