European jazz musicians join in 750th Anniversary Celebrations

On Saturday evening, a carefully selected group of jazz musicians from Poland and other countries in Europe will be taking to the temporary stage on pl. Szczepanski to celebrate the 750th Anniversary of Krakow coming under the jurisdiction of Magdeburg Law. The concert, which is billed as ?Krakow?s Night of European Jazz? is also an integral part of the Piwnica Pod Baranami Summer Jazz Festival, which continues until August 5 with nightly performances in Piwnica Pod Baranami and additional special events. There will be further opportunities to catch all the performers at 23:00 on the same evening in jazz clubs dotted around the old town and Kazimierz.First to appear are the Amato-Ionata Quartet from Italy, featuring Giovanni Amato on trumpet and Max Ionata on saxophone. These young but well traveled musicians have individually won many prizes for their assertive take on modern mainstream jazz. There will be a second chance to catch this group in a more informal setting at Piec Art Club.Next to appear are an Austrian group led by saxophonist Wolfgang Puschnig. He is best known for being one of the main soloists in vocalist, Carla Bley?s big band, but has also been known to explore funk and ethnic music. Previous projects include collaborations with a Tunisian vocalist and a Korean percussion ensemble. His group will be playing later at Alchemia.A quintet led by saxophonist, Janusz Muniak, perform next. Muniak has been a regular on the local scene since the 1960s when he toured Europe with world-renowned trumpeter, Tomasz Stanko. He stills tops critic polls and is a superlative ballad and blues player. He has invited Bavarian guitarist, Helmut Kagerer to perform with him tonight. After the set, he will be giving an additional performance in his club, U Muniaka.The thriving jazz and improvised music scene in the Baltic states will be represented by Sofina Rubina. She was described two years ago by British journalist, Daniel Spicer as ?an astonishing 18-year old singer, amazing international audiences with a repertoire that brings in elements of klezmer and gypsy music.? She will be supported by Lithuanian group, D?Orange. There will be a second chance to catch Sofina and D?Orange at Drukarnia in Kazimierz. Next to perform are a quartet led by guitarist, Jarek Smietana. He has built up quite a reputation over the years and was chosen this year to open the Summer Jazz Festival. He is fond of telling how he once spent a night at Miles Davis? house, talking about music and related topics. He never got the chance to play  with the legend, however. Jarek Smietana will be appearing at 23:00 at the Jazz Club at Piwnica Pod Baranami. He will also be performing at the same venue on July 23-24 at 21:00, as part of the nightly concert cycle. Every year, the Summer Jazz Festival encourages a collaboration between a high profile artist from Poland and one from Europe. This year Polish saxophonist, Adam Pieronczyk will be performing with Austrian guitarist, Andy Manndorgg. Pieronczyk?s music is cerebral, virtuosic and often surprising. Andy Manndorgg has played with Wolfgang Puschnig in the Vienna Art Orchestra and is actively involved in summer jazz education in Krakow. Adam Pieronczyk and Andy Manndorgg are giving additional performances later in the evening in Alchemia at 23:00 and at Piwnica Pod Baranami on July 22 at 21:00.Vocalist, Marek Balata?s Chopin Quartet complete the evening?s entertainment. Balata is one of the most charismatic vocal improvisers in this part of Europe. On Saturday, he will be performing a mixture of his own compositions and transcriptions of Chopin?s piano and vocal compositions. He will be performing later at Harris Piano Jazz Bar. In addition to ?Krakow?s European Night of Jazz,? the nightly concerts at Jazz Club Pod Baranami will be continuing throughout the week. Tonight, the experimental percussionist, Jacek Kochan will be performing with American saxophonist, Gary Thomas, who has worked with seminal fusion guitarist, John McLaughlin. Thomas? dark, robust tone has been described as ?otherwordly.?On Friday, a new fusion project called Eastcom perform. They are led by ubiquitous local saxophonist, Ryszard Krawczuk and keyboardist, Seb Bernatowicz, who spent his formative period working with Janusz Muniak. That?s some recommendation as Muniak chooses his accompanists very carefully. On July 25, a band led by two Polish expats, pianist and trombonist, Jan Jarczyk and saxophonist, Andrzej Olejniczak, will be performing with special guest, New York guitarist, Gary Wittner. Like many Polish jazz musicians who made their reputation in the 1970s and 1980s, Jarczyk crossed the Atlantic to take up a professorship. He currently works at McGill University in Canada. Olejniczak, who used to play in Jarek Smietana?s most popular group, Extra Ball, lives in Spain.

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