Jazz is big and popular in Poland – especially demanded by young people. The list of jazz festivals is endless from little jazz events all over the country to the big, well considered international festivals. On top you find jazz clubs all over in the big Polish cities.
„Krakow is the most lively jazz city of Europe. With his numerous cellar pubs and music clubs Krakow is an all-year festival, said the leader of the German jazz institute, Wolfram Knauer.
„Catacomb-Jazz“ as an expression of freedom
Today's popularity in jazz is strongly connected and weaved with the history of the country. As a people's republic Poland was heavily integrated in the east block and the communist system of Russia. Jazz was a „ventile for the will of freedom of the Polish people“. With the first half official jazz festival in 1954, the Cracow All Souls Festival (Krakowskie Zaduszkie Jazzowe) the independent Polish jazz tradition was born. Elements of the Polish piano virtuoso Chopin and folkloristic arrangements became the distinguishing marks of the „Polski Jazz“. Two years later 25.000 people came along to the International Jazzfest in Sopot at the East Sea. The central committee of the Polish workersparty described the athmosphere of the festival as „a cross between a Chopin competition and a game of soccer.“ In Sopot also legendary pianist Krzysztof Komeda celebrated his debut in front of a big audience.
Krzysztof Komeda takes the music to Hollywood
In the 1960ties Komeda tower above the scene as a jazz and film music composer. Until his early death 1969 he composed the music for several movies of the great film director Roman Polanski as for instance the music for „Dance of the Vampires“ or „Rosemary's Baby“. His album „Astigmatic“ recorded in 1961 with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko seems certain the most influential album in Poland and influence young musicians even today. Adam Makowicz, Tomasz Stanko, Michal Urbaniak and Jan „Ptaszyn“ Wroblewski were the jazz heroes of the 1970ties. With their virtuose play they enthusiasts jazz fans in the East and in the West equally and received cult status.
Melancholy meets Chopin
In the last years a new generation of young musicians livin up the Polish jazz scene once again. The scene counts now as ever to the most active in Europe. The musical legends of Poland, who mostly were in exile came back and brought their experience with which influence the young talents strongly. For the German jazz expert Wolfram Knauer the „Polski Jazz“ is between „slavik melancholy“ and the influence of the classical composer Frederic Chopin. The Polish music scene is at his edges full of athmospheric moods and classic virtuosity, Knauer explains. 2003 US pianist Keith Jarrett was in Warsaw and he conjected „perhaps the future of the American jazz music is right here“. Today it is clear: Rock and Pop but especially Jazz is a tight element in the Polish culture.
In contemporary jazz of Poland you can find a lot great talents. One of these very interesting musicians is Marcin Losik, a sensitive pianist, who define with his trio a new approach in the transfer of his slavik roots to modern jazz. You can hear partly classic forms of the Piano-Bass-Drums school of Bill Evans but he strongly follows his own ideas and his musical path contrasting all of the jazz tradition into a new sound. And he deals with the musical heritage of American and Polish jazz equally. The US-american label Dot Time Records was attended by Marcin Losik and artist and label decided to release Marcin's debut album „Emotional Phrasing“ in May 2015. A first and big success for Marcin Losik, also because the label decided to promote him in the US and in Japan.
Further informations about Marcin Losik and his trio under: http://www.marcinlosik.com