Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Xth Ad Libitum Festival (Warsaw; 15-17.10)

Ad Libitum celebrates its Xth edition with a program that's both coincise and packed with excitement. The festival will present few insights into the polish improvisation scene, features few living legends of the genre and will show a broad spectrum of modern improvisation - from a piano solo recital to a big band.

The resident artist will be Alex Von Schlippenbach who will perform three times during the festival - solo, with his legendary trio (Evan Parker and Paul Lovens) and leading Globe Unity Orchestra (joined by an old camrade Tomasz Stanko). Peter Brotzmann will appear with his recently most active quartet featuring Jason Adasiewicz on vibes and the powerful combo John Edwards - Steve Noble. Barry Guy Blue Shroud Band will perform the magnificent piece "Guernica" which was premiered last year in Krakow - which is probably the performance I look forward the most.

See below the full program. Fans of of free jazz - Unite!

15.10  g. 19.30, Laboratorium CSW, Sala im. W. Krukowskiego  


Krzysztof Cybulski – bass guitar, electronics,
Mikołaj Pałosz – cello, electronics
Sławomir Wojciechowski – cello, electronics


Mikołaj Trzaska – saxophone,
Evan Parker - saxophone,
Tomasz Dąbrowski - trumpet
 Mike Majkowski - double bass


Peter Brötzmann – saxophone, clarinet, torogato,
Jason Adasiewicz – vibes
John Edwards – double bass
Steve Noble – drums

16.10 g. 19.30, Studio Koncertowe Polskiego Radia im. W. Lutosławskiego  


Jerzy Kornowicz – fortepian,
Tadeusz Wielecki – kontrabas,
Ryszard Latecki trąbka,
Mieczysław Litwiński – głos, instrumenty strunowe,
Tadeusz Sudnik – media elektroniczne,
Krzysztof Knittel – instrumenty elektroniczne
oraz gościnnie:
Wojciech Błażejczyk -gitara, elektronika


Alexander von Schlippenbach – piano
Evan Parker – saxophone
Paul Lovens – drums

g. 19.30, Studio Koncertowe Polskiego Radia im. W. Lutosławskiego  


Barry Guy – double bass, conducting,
Savina Yannatou – voice, Maya Homburger – violin, Fanny Paccoud -viola, Ben Dwyer – guitar, Per Texas Johansson – clarinet, saxophones, Michael Niesemann – oboe, saxophones, Percy Pursglove – trumpet, Julius Gabriel – saxophones,
Torben Sneakedstadt – trumpet, saxophones, Agustí Fernández – piano, Michel Godard – tuba, serpent, Ramon Lopez, Lucas Niggli – drums


Alexander von Schlippenbach – piano


Alexander von Schlippenbach – piano, leader,
Tomasz Stańko, Jean­Luc Capozzo, Axel Dörner – trumpets
Evan Parker, Gerd Dudek, Henrik Walsdorff – saxophones,
Rudi Mahall –  bass clarinet,
Gerhard Gschlößl, Christoph  Thewes – trombones,
Paul Lovens, Paul Lytton – drums

Monday, October 12, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 12-18.10 / Xth Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival

It may seem winter has arrived. But make no mistake, it's autumn. More importantly. It's jazz autumn. The season of jazz festivals. Xth Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival. Jazz Jantar in Gdansk. Autumn Jazz in Bielsko Biala. Jazztopad in Wroclaw etc. I'll try to cover closely two festivals both of which start this week. The condensed three-days Ad Libitum in Warsaw (more about which tomorrow) and extended for a few weeks Xth Krakow Autumn Jazz in Krakow. Here's where to be in Krakow this week.

Honestly, the week is full-packed so I'll try to as brief as possibly.

12.10 Aga Derlak Trio at Piec'ART
Aga Derlak's Trio is a young ensemble that nonetheless has quite a few successes under their belt, they're part of the polish jazz offensive in the slovachian label Hevhetia that has recently published their debut cd that presents their personal take on the modern jazz piano trio idiom.

14.10 Angles 9 at Alchemia (Xth Krakow Autumn Jazz)
The band led by Martin Kuchen is among the among the best in modern jazz. Brilliant arrangements, striking melodies and inspiring improvisations - it's definitely among the most well balanced acts of the kind and I can't imagine how one could miss the chance to see them live (incidentally roughly the half of their recorded output is live registered). If you don't know them yet, you should.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 28.09-05.10

The big news is that Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival program is ready! Before we get to enjoy that, we still have some other concerts we might wanna see. We have one experiment and three modern mainstream jazz nights to offer.

28.09 Martyna Poznańska at Środmiejski Osrodek Kultury in Mikolajska street
Martyna Poznanska is a sound artist, performer, who explores the subject of sound in space. She used to live in Krakow but she's travels between London and Berlin mostly, where she's continuing her studies at the Univeristy Of Arts.

30.09 Ori Dakari at Piec'ART
Ori Dakari is a guitarist and composer, whose debut cd was released by the esteemed Tzadik label which is a recommendation in itself. He will be joined by Krakow's young and talented crew: Mateusz Palka on piano, Alan Wykpisz on bass and Grzegorz Palka on drums.

01.10 Quantum Trio

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 22-27.09

So far there's still no concrete dates for Autumn Jazz Festivals although some leaks I got are really exciting. In the meantime you can celebrate John Coltrane's birthday this week, witness birds' conference or enjoy your weekend with a flash. More details below:

23.09. Tyto Alba - musical performance in Srodmiejski Dom Kultury (Mikolajska street)
A musical performance about melancholy and birds. The concept art is by Michal Libera. The opera will be performed by the author in the company of Martin Kuchen on saxophones (who I hope needs no introduction), sound engineer Ralf Meinz and singer Barbara Kinga Majewska.

23.09. John Coltrane's birthday party at Piec'ART
The one and only will be remembered by some of the Krakow's young cats: Slawek Pezda, Mateusz Gaweda, Mike Parker and Grzegorz Palka who will tackle Coltrane's own compositions during the night.
(the clip below is is not related directly to the band playing this week. It is however a great Coltrane tribute, a composition from the first cd by Milosc - a legendary polish formation that stormed polish jazz scene in 90's).

26.09. The Flash! at Alchemia
The Flash! is a young band with Slawek Pezda (tenor sax) Kuba Dworak (bass) and Max Olszewski (drums) that rocks hard on stage, combining punk attitude and avant jazz. The band is really a blast to here live.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 07-13.09 / Fire! at Pardon To Tu

Below the weekly line-up of concert recommendations with two events of particular interest. Firstly, Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival is near and we'll have finally a taste this week. Secondly, Fire! will play a double-night in Pardon To Tu in Warsaw which became an amazingly active stage for creative music in the last few years and hopefully many more to come.

08.09 Pat Thomas / Joel Grip / Antonin Gerbal at Alchemia (Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival Preview)
Pat Thomas is clearly one of the most important if under-appreciated figures of british improv scene. In all honesty I'm not a big fan of his keyboards, but I'm very curious about what he'll cook up with the young cats to tease the upcoming Krakow Atumn Jazz Festival!

08-09.09 Eyot at Piec'ART
Eyot is a quartet from Serbia led by Dejan Ijilic on piano. They fuse elements of jazz, classical, balkan and rock music. In fact they do cite Pink Floyd and Radiohead among their influences which sounds quite intriguing.

10.09 Jacek Kochan / Gavin Ahearn / Michal Kapczuk at Piec'ART
The band calls themselves "Third of the three", apart from which there's literally no additional info to be found on the club's webpage. Either way, with Jacek Kochan at the helm, you can expect some solid modern jazz to played there that night.

13-14.09 Fire! at Pardon To Tu
Fire! is a kraut-rock-psychodelia-trance-improv-jazz trio that plays some scary stuff, not really a surprise if you have the prince of saxophone noise Mats Gustafsson on board along with monster rhythm section Johan Berthling and Andreas Werlin. The concerts are even more special with the fact this is the only two-night residency of their tour.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 31.08-06.09

There's some sad news to put here: summer is over. At least it will be over today. But there's some good news as well, autumn is coming. And that means a plenty of jazz festivals to choose from. In the meantime, you can enjoy the evenings with some good music.

31.08 3Kings at Main Square - Summer Goodbye party.
Disco-punk-jazz street welfare unit with Slawek Pezda on tenor, Jakub Tybuszczuk on baritone and Max Olszewski on drums. These guys sound crazy lotta fun and they will entertain you tonight in the midst of the market square, street style jazz assault.

02.09 Opalinska & Whates at Piec'ART
Piano and bass. I've recommended this duo's music on the blog in the past and I stand by this recommendation. Intimate, melancholic, sublime and heartfelt music.

03.09 Surreal Players at Piec'ART
Another duo, cello and piano, and more of the intimate and intriguing chamber sound.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule -23.08 / Singer Jazz Festival

I didn't put up the post for the whole week earlier since there's only one jazz related concert this week that I'd like to recommend. Most of the music fans in Krakow are probably enjoying now the indie-pop-electronica Krakow Live Festival anyway.

For the next week I'd like to invite you to Warsaw for its 12th Jewish Culture Festival called Singer which has a very inviting jazz section of the program.

22.08 Aga Derlak Trio at Piec'ART
Aga Derlak's trio is a young band, but their talent has already been recognized, they have gathered quite a few festival recognitions (Krakow's Jazz Juniors among them) and have recently released a debut cd in slovacchian Hevhetia label that has become very active in promoting polish jazz. The trio is certainly an intriguing new voice and deserves more attention.

22-30.08 Singer Jazz Festival
Jazz part of Singer Festival in Warsaw is curated by an esteemed critic Adam Baruch. The main thread of this year's edition is the presence of Albert Beger who will perform a series of concerts with polish jazz musicians and bands (among them the acclaimed rhythm section Oles Brothers, the promising free jazz duo Pezda - Gaweda). There will also be other performances including Paul Brody's Sadawi band and kosher gospel (had no idea there even is such a thing).
Next week in Warsaw should give plenty of musical and cultural satisfaction.

More information can be found at:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 03-09.08

IT's going to be a very hot week, according the weather channels, which makes a great occasion to chill down with some excellent music on a couple of evenings:

03.08 Free The Dance - Duos at Sunset at BAL
Another installment of the Free The Dance series, this time a minimal setting with Malgorzata Haduch (dance) and Paulina Owczarek (baritone sax). The meeting of arts for the open-minded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ola Bilinska - Berjozkele (Yiddish Lullabies) [Jewish Historical Institute]

Ola Bilińska - vocal, OP1 synth, electric guitar, vibes, Moogerfooger delay
Michał Moniuszko - double bass
Kacper Szroeder - trumpet, flugelhorn, bielarussian dulcimer
Mikołaj Trzaska - bass clarinet
Raphael Rogiński - electric guitar

The Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute 2014

I have recently written shortly about Berjozkele's concert during the Jewish Culture Festival and I promised to write more about the group and their music, available on cd thanks to the support of Jewish Historical Institute. Bilinska's project is in fact of great etnographic, historical interest, in many ways a dive into the past. The album is a collection of yiddish songs of yonder times, before the tragic disappearance of jewish culture in Europe. Thankfully, it's not only a recollection of a lost culture but a modern interpretation of it, an example of its recent revitalization. The presence of Raphael Roginski and Mikołaj Trzaska on the record is somehow symbolic, given the two are greatly responsible for the phenomenon of polish new jewish music.

Berjozkele's music, however, is not only a journey into the past. All the songs are connected by the common theme of night and dream. It's a collection of lullabies, songs that dwell in-between the light of the day and the pitch dark of the night. On the border, following the fine line between real and surreal, tragic and comic, a dream and a nightmare.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 27.07-02.08

Apologies for the short delay in presenting the concert recommendations for the upcoming week. As the month of the festivals is nearing its end, there won't be this much live music to follow, but no worries, you won't be left without it either.

29.07. Owczarek / Kolodziejczyk / Ogorek at Galeria i!
A trio session by Cracow's improvisers that will include Paulina Owczarek on baritone, Malwina Kołodziejczyk on tenor saxophone and Ernest Ogorek on bass guitar.

30.07. D.R.A.G at Tak Było
Quartet led by Dominika Rusinowska playing the violin that includes other young and talented musicians as well: Mateusz Gaweda on piano, Jakub Mielcarek on double bass and Józef Rusinowski. The band cites Eric Dolphy, McCoy Tyner, Zbigniew Seifert and John Zorn among their most important inspirations.

02.08. The Blessed Beat at Piec'ART
The Blessed Beat are a trio with David Kollar on guitar, Paolo Raineri on trumpet and Simone Cavina on drums. The group uses plenty of electronics. Those who like the Miles Davis psychodely and surrealism should be satisfied.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 20-26.07

Summer break mode is on these days, whether it's sizzling sun or a tropical rain. Fortunately, some good music is still around to keep you company while you try to relax in the evening trying to chill.

20.07. Pawel Kaczmarczyk Audiofeeling Trio at Pod Baranami (Summer Jazz Festival)
Kaczmarczyk's Audiofeeling Trio is definitely one of the most respected jazz piano trio's on a polish stage and is deserves a wider recognition. Which will hopefully happen with their fresh of the press "Something Personal" cd which already has gathered some more than positive reviews.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Warsaw Summer Jazz Days 2015 Summary

I have and undisputed pleasure to follow closely Warsaw Summer Jazz Days in the last few years and it is clear it is one of the main jazz events in the calendar. There are clear difficulties in creating a line-up that will hold a mainstream commercial appeal necessary for the event of the kind, while mantaining some artistic validity. There are only a few household names in jazz today that can guarantee both, and you can't bring Wayne Shorter Quartet every year (although I, personally, wouldn't mind that).

That being said this year's festival, while quite promising, was for me a bit of disappointment. There were not true "wow" and "yeaah" moments that I remember fondly from the previous years (Sun Ra Arkestra, Gregory Porter, Gary Peacock, Matana Roberts or the aforementioned Wayne Shorter to name just a few). I don't like and I don't feel like writing a negative review unless I feel it's necessary to give a true picture of the event. I'll try to focus on the positive in the brief, selective rundown below (chronological order).

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet
His concert 3 years ago at the festival was, for me, a completely unexpected marvel. He came back to Warsaw with a quartet and confirmed the impression - a brilliant trumpet player with an original sound and forward-thinking composer and leader. He finds great support in the band with Harish Raghavan on bass and Justin Brown on drums. His ballad duo with Sam Harris on the piano was hearbreaking.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Shlomo Bar & Kutiman Orchestra at Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

I've written in the previous post about two concerts of the Festival that I loved for the sense of the intimacy that the concerts created, showing the different side of this big festival. But the big stage has its merits as well and this post is dedicated to the two bands I believe played the best, both in Tempel Synagogue and during the grande finale at Szeroka Street.

Shlomo Bar & Habrera Hativet come first, a concert that was part of "classical" side of the program, but that sounded nothing like the visit in a museum. Shlomo Bar is a charismatic vocalist with a voice strong as a bell. But also a true showman, a percussionist with a gift for stage gesture. The music by the band combines the musical traditions of sephardic Andalusian Jews' mysticism and middle-Easter flavours. The music was full of life, vivid, and managed to make the opposites meet. Majestic and fun. A meditation in the desert. A wedding party in oasis.

The kind of music that has the power to transcend the millenias, as proven by the thousands of people dancing to it this year at Szeroka Street.

Kutiman Orchestra was the last band on stage this year (before the festival's all-star orchestra closed the night) and the deserved this honor without any doubts. A ten man strong unit on stage with plenty of percussion, horns and the leader behind a set of synthesizers that would make any vintage electronica fan drool.
Even as the band hit the first notes, they captured the crowd immediately and filled the space (either Synagore and Szeroka Street) with non-stop grooves, horn sections' punch, funky basslines, psychodelic guitar (with occasional hard rock riff) and and spaced out synth. The Orchestra is an unstoppable dance machine ("What's going down? We're grooving this town"). I believe the Godfather of Soul himself mr. James Brown would say the are bad mothe*uckers.

Fantastic show, if you ever got a chance to see them, don't miss out. Otherwise hunt for the records.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ori and Berjozkele at Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

The time is running in a fast forward mode, but before I jump to Warsaw Summer Jazz Days festival I have to bring back some music from the last week and a half in Krakow.

Krakow Jewish Culture Festival is a beautiful, massive event, with a grande finale at Szeroka Street, with the daily, majestic concerts at Tempel Synagogue and the handfull of workshops, lectures ecc to go around. Which may be I found two concerts in particular of great value. Both took place in the small and cosy Cheder Cafe which allowed for more intimate musical experience.

And it's hard to be more musically intimate than during the festival's first live concert by an artist from Berlin - ORI. Alone on the small stage, barefoot, probably to get more real feel of the space, with just a mike a small sampler and a keyboard.

Ori's music is an atmospheric mixture of minimal electronica with trippy beats and charming voice. Delicate and intimate, soulfull and nostalgic. Taking inspiration in both folk pop ballad and neo soul music, Ori often loops his own voice in order to create intricately layered arrangements, sings with a lot of feedback to give even more otherworldly quality to his music which seems fit somewhere between the melancholic songs of Bon Iver and ethereal quality of songs by Sigur Ros.

Hypnotizing performance by the songwriter which you should most definitely check out.

Berjozkele  is a project led by Olga Bilinska (vocals, piano, loops), with Michał Moniuszko on double bass, Kacper Szroeder on trumpet and dulcimer and Raphael Roginski on guitar. They play and sing jidysz lullabies, surreal tales of dreams and mysteries. The music is esoteric, it had the me the feeling the Grimm's fables have - that of magical space full of wonder but where terror and sadness lingers in the shadow.

It was truly the music of the night, a mesmerizing performance by the band.

(I'll try to write more soon  about them and their debut cd released december last year)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Krakow Concert Schedule 13-19.07

Just got back from Warsaw Summer Jazz Days which was rather disappointing and makes the memories of Krakow Jewish Culture festival even more precious. I'll get back to both festivals in the next few posts. The main musical events for the following days are related to Summer Jazz Festival with the daily concerts at Piwnica Pod Baranami and Harris Piano Jazz Bar.

Last but not least, Saturday Night is officially the Night of Jazz in Krakow, with plenty of venues participating in the event (also part of the Summer Jazz Festival).

15.07 Joachim Mencel Artisena at Harris Piano Jazz Bar (Summer Jazz Festival)
When Joachim Mencel played with this new project at Starzy i Mlodzi Festival I felt immensely happy - he's back. Artisena features Mencel on piano and hurdy-gurdy playing inspired music with the kind of spiritual energy that I've been waiting for from the pianist for ages.