With 2018 marking one hundred years of Polish independence, Poland will be the main focus of the upcoming jazzahead! Festival in Bremen, Germany. The festival, which will run from 6th to 22nd April 2018, will partner with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s own Don’t Panic! We’re from Poland project to showcase Polish jazz and culture.
jazzahead! combines a showcase, conference, exhibition and a festival – it has become an essential meeting point for international industry professionals and jazz-lovers from around the world. In 2018, Poland will be the partner country of the festival.
The 2018 edition of the festival will kick off on 6th April with an opening ceremony featuring the ragtime music of pianist Marcin Masecki and the folk charm of the Warsaw Village Band. On 20th April, several Polish stars will take the stage at Die Glocke concert hall. Anna Maria Jopek, one of Poland’s best-known jazz singers, will join the luminary Polish pianist Leszek Możdżer for the jazzahead! Festival’s feature concert. This is a rare joint appearance and a special premiere of their collaboration, a tribute to all the masters and styles of Polish music that have shaped their artistic personalities. The second band of the evening will be the international quartet of saxophonist Maciej Obara, which is releasing its newest album in November 2017.
Anna Maria Jopek is one of the most charismatic and original voices in Poland today. She’s a passionate visionary, a composer, songwriter and improviser, as well as a classically trained pianist who graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. She has brought to life dozens of artistic projects, merging contrasting musical personalities, cultures and styles. Over her notable career, she has sold one million records and has won every prominent Polish music award possible. Jopek has recorded and performed around the world with outstanding local and international artists including Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, Ivan Linz, Branford Marsalis, Nigel Kennedy, Richard Bona, Makoto Ozone and Sting. In Sting’s own words:
It’s a great honour to perform after Ania, I’m a big fan of hers. She’s a wonderful artist with a fantastic band. Performing after her is a great privilege, but also a big challenge.
Leszek Możdżer is a distinguished pianist and composer who has triggered a mental and stylistic revolution in Polish jazz unlike any other jazzman before him. Initially associated with the Miłość (Love) yass group, he later appeared in various jazz bands: the ensembles of Emil Kowalski, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Tomasz Stańko, Buddy de Franco, David Friesen, Archie Shepp, Michał Urbaniak, Adam Pierończyk or Arthur Blythe. The pianist’s vast discography consists of over one hundred albums including both individual projects and collaborations with remarkable artists.
He has recorded and played concerts with such artists as David Gilmour, Nana Vasconcelos, Marcus Miller, John Scofield, Tan Dun and Pat Metheny. Możdżer has also gained great popularity and recognition through his collaborations with famous Polish composers Zbigniew Preisner and Jan A. P. Kaczmarek. The pianist names his solo projects and the original projects of Lars Danielsson and Zohar Fresco Trio (The Time album achieved the status of a Diamond Record) as some of his best work.
Thus, he turns out to be a creator of a new stylistics in jazz music where the sound and ambience are built up by impression and mood as well as the unique individual style of a performer. Maybe that is why he is perceived as an exquisite jazz artist of the new generation and is the most popular jazz musician in Poland today.
Maciej Obara is a Polish saxophone player and improviser, characterised by his discernible phrasing and powerful sound.
Obara is a musician who has been developing his own musical language from the very beginning of his career, and, despite collaborations with artists from Japan, USA and Europe, his main focus remains his original quartet with Dominik Wania on piano, Ole Morten Vaagan on double bass and Gard Nilssen on drums. The members of the band represent a small group of European jazz musicians who consciously and uncompromisingly avoid musical literality, and create their own clearly distinguishable sound.
His most recent album, Unloved, is Obara's ninth original recording and will be released in November 2017 on the prestigious Munich record label ECM.
Tickets for the festival opening, jazzahead! showcases, jazzahead! Gala Concert and clubnight are available for presale now. Find out more: http://jazzahead.de/en/
The project is organised in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, operating under the Culture.pl brand within the international cultural programme POLSKA 100 accompanying Poland’s centenary of regaining independence. Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the Multi-annual Programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017-2021.
Sources: press release, jazzahead! 2018, edited by KA & NR, November 2017