Over the coming week, Krakow residents and visitors will have the opportunity to catch veterans and rising stars of the Polish jazz scene playing every night at Piwnica Pod Baranami Jazz Club at Rynek Glowny.
The majority of musicians performing have an international reputation and some will be appearing with foreign guests they have invited specially for the occasion.
These concerts are an integral part of the annual Piwnica Pod Baranami Summer Jazz Festival, which is now entering its twelfth year.
Piwnica Pod Baranami was a student haunt treasured by the local artistic community from the late 1950s when it started to host cabarets of a political bend, art exhibitions and concerts by such luminaries as Krzysztof Komeda, who created atmospheric soundtracks for so many of director Roman Polanski?s seminal early films.
Appearing tonight is Krzysztof Scieranski, widely regarded to be the most proficient electric bassist on the Polish scene. He claims to be most influenced by Brazilian music and is well-known for his solo sets, in which he loops himself and solos flamboyantly over the top. Tonight he has chosen to perform in a trio setting.
On Friday, there will be a performance by a group co-led by veteran drummer and educator, Kazimierz Jonkisz and Californian saxophonist, Monty Waters. Jonkisz has performed with just about everybody who is anybody on the Polish jazz scene since he won the prestigious Jazz Nad Odra prize in 1968 at the tender age of 18. Waters performed with Rhythm and Blues greats like B.B. King and James Brown before discovering jazz. The pair found they have a great affinity with each other and have started to perform regularly together.
Vocalist, Marek Balata will be performing with his quintet on Saturday. Balata has an eclectic approach to music making that embraces indigenous folk music, bebop and the blues. He has even been known to rap, in both Polish and English. He has performed all over the world and is widely regarded to be one of the best improvisers in this part of Europe.
Local group Funk De Nite will be performing on Sunday. Their music, as the name suggests, harks back to the classic Atlantic funk and groove sides of the late 1960s and 1970?s but is informed by a strong jazz sensibility. They are tight and authentic and are practically guaranteed to get the crowd shaking their stuff. On this occasion German trumpeter Christoph Titz will be guest-playing with them.
On Monday veteran pianist and bandleader Jan Boba will be appearing with his Boba Jazz Band. His insatiable enthusiasm for classic Dixieland and New Orleans jazz has rubbed off on the young musicians he has brought through the band. The band likes to put on a show, and the musicians? performances are full of theatrics and humor.
Adam Kawonczyk, who appears on Tuesday, is a somewhat underrated but highly sought after trumpeter who has collaborated with Krzysztof Scieranski, Marek Balata and Jacek Smietana among many others. He will be performing a carefully selected mixture of standards and original compositions.
The quartet performing on Wednesday is co-led by pianist Janusz Skowro and percussionist Miroslaw Sitkowski. Guest-performing with them will be local vocalist Karolina Styla who raised a few eyebrows when she released her debut ?My Favorite Songs? (Not Two Records, 1999) at age 18, an exceptionally young start for a jazz vocalist.
A quick look at Janusz Skowron?s early career proves how closely knit the mainstream jazz scene is in Poland. He made his debut recording in the Kazimierz Jonkisz Quintet before graduating to the String Connection, a group that included violinist Krzesimir Debski. The orchestra that performed in last Saturday?s opening ?Guitar Summit? concert was conducted by none other than Krzesimir Debski.
Piwnica Pod Baranami Jazz Club
Rynek Glowny 27
Admission: 40zloty/20zloty (Students)
July 12: Krzysztof Scieranski Trio
July 13: Monty Waters and Kazimierz Jonkisz Group
July 14: Marek Balata Quintet
July 15: Christoph Titz and Funk de Nite
July 16: Boba Jazz Band
July 17: Adam Kawonczyk Quartet
July 18: Janusz Skowron/Miroslaw
Sitkowski Quartet & Karolina Styla