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Episode notes

In the history of jazz, there haven't been many musicians that give credit to their playing video games. But as a nine-year-old hardcore player, Kuba Więcek developed an affinity with repetitive practice and now feels the need for strategic thinking and fast decision-making has stood him in good stead as a bandleader today. After a pivotal moment as a teenager, which he talks about in the interview, when he improvised on his saxophone for the first time, his 10 hour-a-day, video gaming habit switched to music study. I particularly like musicians that approach jazz in an open and authentic way. It's not historical music. Jazz has always been an expression of emotion in the present moment, reflecting the social, political, and cultural atmospheres around us. That's what improvisation is. I think it's also worth noting that Kuba attended the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen of which I'm a big fan. Some of the most exciting artists like bass player, Petter Eldh, and vocalist Lucia Cadotsch studied there. We live in an era of many, many musics. And conservatories like this one in Denmark encourage the exploration of anything and everything. Whether it's Ornette Coleman, or Kanye West, Tomasz Stanko or Bjork. Kuba reveals he has that curiosity which is so vital to creativity. On a trip to New York, he bought some portable synthesizers and took to them as he had done his video games. And when you hear the interview, you'll get a sense of how experimentation is at the heart of his approach and relationship to which is also key to jazz. The interplay between musicians. In this case with his trio of Michał Barański and  Łukasz Żyta, carving new paths in any art will always have its critics. And these new waves of jazz artists face exclusion from jazz record labels and venues and festivals. When Więcek’s first album, Another Raindrop was released in the renowned Polish Jazz series, there was a backlash. There were comments about his youth and playing skills. And yet the album won two prestigious awards for best jazz debut. You will hear Kuba weaving in stories of his background, his working methods, and what he's drawn to. You sense he has a quiet confidence and belief in what he is doing. But like all of the best artists, his commitment is to the music and not himself.

Music from the episode

Jazz Robots by Kuba Więcek Trio feat. Marcin Masecki from the album “Multitasking”

Further reading Further watching Credits

This episode of Rebel Spirits was hosted by Debra Richards. The show is brought to you by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

Written and produced by Monika Proba

Executive production by Move Me Media

Edited by Monika Proba

Design by Dawid Ryski

Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak


The publisher would like to thank all copyright owners for their kind permission to reproduce their material. Should, despite our intensive research, any person entitled to rights have been overlooked, legitimate claims shall be compensated within the usual provisions.