“ 'First Album' is an excellent record, in terms of the leader's compositions as well as the entire group's performance. These compositions are highly energetic, but they're primarily decisive in concept, and full of direction. This kind of confidence in a debuting artist is an inherent quality in the greatest geniuses. If someone issues a debut of such maturity, it's almost scary to think of what 'Tenth Album' will sound like. I'm afraid it may wipe many a top-shelf American jazz quartet off of the face of the Earth. If I hadn't known that this was the album of a debuting artist from Krakow, I would have thought it had been recorded by well-seasoned American musicians, with years of studio experience under their belt.”
“One must admit that the musicians here set the bar higher than the average notion of what today's improvisational music is becoming, geared primarily toward originality of emotions, meant to differentiate the creator from the midst of a multitude of characters.”
“It should be said plainly: in the case of 'First Album', we have a record with a title that surprises us, as soon as the first few notes reach our ears from this very esthetically issued silver disc. This is because it's extremely rare, despite the multitude of young artists' records we receive, that we encounter a recording debut which is this mature and fully realized in every respect. Excellent album. Quite simply. What's amazing, though, is that this is a debut – and the main actor in this tumult is barely 26 years old. This is the power of the young generation of Polish Jazz!”
“This is completely the original music of Kuba Płużek. Listening to his non-clichéd, non-standard improvisations, which go far beyond the jazz template, is a pure pleasure. It's turbulent music, but dynamic and full of dissonant, even atonal sounds - particularly when saxophonist Marek Pospieszalski plays with the band, which maintains a powerfully pulsing rhythm that literally snatches one out of their place.”
“ 'First Album' is a mature and demanding record – I haven't the slightest doubt of this. The collected compositions, all written by Płużek himself, represent a very high standard, and affirm his renown as an intelligent and creative bandleader. What this work expresses is, first of all, a very rich musical language, based on emotionally variegated collective improvisation. The sounds thus generated are authentic, and what's more – by conveying a climate appropriate to life's 'inspirations', allow one to believe in the honesty of the artistic statement. Płużek activates the listener mentally, allowing them to experience his creativity, and enter a world of feelings, impressions and reverie. It should be said, though, that this isn't a sad or melancholy album. On the contrary, 'First Album' carries an enormous charge of energy. There is less lyricism here, and much more fervent energy, expression and great joy in playing.”
“Fantastic, mature playing, which isn't concerned with trends and recipes for success. It reaches deep into the roots of jazz philosophy, but at the same time is very modern in its striving to communicate with its own voice.”
Tomasz Janas („IKS”)
“This album should be listened to, because: it's decidedly one of the most spectacular original debuts of the last decade, because the leader's creative vision shows he's tasted more than one dish in the musical kitchen, and thus the music itself ventures decidedly beyond the rigid boundaries of jazz, often transporting us into a surreal world of unconstrained harmonies (“User Friendly Tune” - the pearl of the album). This is music which, indeed, knows no boundaries, as 'First Album' doesn't carry the stigma of a record that has to appeal to everyone, nor does it contain any fear of 'what if they don't like it', and this is probably the main asset in Płużek's and his cohorts' playing. They're not worried about cheap applause, and don't engage in any pandering through their notes, in search of acceptance. They know that that acceptance comes with every note on this record, an album which has been worked out, refined, and – what's probably self-evident – borne in heart and mind for years.”
“Kuba Płużek's debut 'First Album' can easily be placed alongside the achievements of American musicians from jazz's major leagues. This 25-year-old writes like a jazz musician who's just gotten though with a listening session, that consisted of some good old rhythm 'n' blues and some Schönberg - simultaneously. (…) A rookie's humility? Playing with 'a certain kind of shyness'? Nothing of the sort, in keeping with the reputation of someone who got kicked out of music school, for a disrespectful gibe addressed to his professors during an exam. In the album's opening number, 'Ciążownik', Płużek is already baring his claws and, like a peacock spreading its tail, demonstrates what he's capable of. He leads a dynamically forward-moving quartet with impetus, and swings fantastically. Straight, groove-oriented playing doesn't keep him from entwining and disentangling phrases, as he combines a roots-oriented feeling with an affinity for explorations of the rhythm and harmony, which slightly fray the edges of his musical statements. The energy with which the tenor horn of saxophonist Marek Pospieszalski emerges over the piano presses the listener into their seat. His fiery entrances and solos at times give one the impression that it's he who has the album's primary spotlight. 'First Album', thus far, is a guaranteed candidate for the title of jazz debut of the year.”
Jędrzej Słodkowski („Gazeta Wyborcza”)
Kuba Płużek is one of the most talented and creative instrumentalists on the Polish jazz scene. His creativity is characterized by a wide-ranging musical imagination, absolute control of his instrument, and electrifying power of expression.
A provocative spirit in the musical world, with a bold virtuosity, whose intriguing compositions are rich with diffuse and fragmented phrasing, he balances harmonic coherence on a fine line with sensitivity, and opens a world of true jazz of the highest grade before the listener.
A finalist at the Montreux Piano Competition, he's won or been a finalist at many jazz competitions in Poland and international jazz competitions.