“Episodes” by Luke Polipnick Group | On The Record

courtesy photo

review by Chance Solem-Pfeifer and Jacob Zlomke

Audio Album Review:

Luke Polipnick Group songs are episodic in the style of fits and mood swings, not sitcoms.

Episodes is eight bouts of experimental jazz and the debut record from group, named after its bandleader, the Omaha guitarist/composer Luke Polipnick. Across the tracks, Polipnick’s guitar strikes up many partnerships with the saxophone of Brandon Wozniak, the double bass of Adam Linz and the drums of Mike Pride. These partnerships can be fraternal but also oppositional. Either way, they offer very little time or space for orientation and comfort for the listener. That’s by design.

At minute 17 of the album review above, we speculate that Episodes would be suitable for a confused walk or frenetic game of tennis. It breathes that kind of spastic motion, controlled by the sweeping beauty of tracks like “Kings of Golden Valley” and “Albatross,” but just barely kept short of insanity in songs like the aptly named “Sputterer.”

The virtuosic skill of the four jazz musicians on Episodes sees them playing with the idea of theme like a cat bats around a mouse. Several songs, such as the opener “Jobbing,” are grounded by refrains, but they come unexpectedly. The album’s most defining quality may be that the moment when the listener seeks musical resolution is the moment he or she is least likely to find it.

See Luke Polipnick in trio-form Tuesday at Pageturners Lounge in Omaha and listen to our full review above.

Chance Solem-Pfeifer is Hear Nebraska’s staff writer. He would like to host a wine party and see how uncomfortable guests are with songs like “Sputterer.” Get your invite from chancesp@hearnebraska.org.