Saxophonist, composer, arranger, conductor, feature writer, and radio reporter. Born on 27 March 1936 in Kalisz.
Saxophonist, composer, arranger, conductor, feature writer, and radio reporter. He is credited with many recordings and his discography has over ten original albums and several dozen featured records.
He graduated from the Secondary Music School in Kalisz in the clarinet and piano classes. After graduation, he moved to Poznań where he became a student of the Farm Mechanization Department at the Poznań University of Technology. His artistic career dates back to this time - he ran student dance groups in Poznań from 1954, also playing the piano and the clarinet.
His debut on the jazz scene came two years later, in 1956, at the 1. Jazz Festival in Sopot where he performed with Krzysztof Komeda's Sextet. He played with this band as a clarinetist and saxophonist until the band broke up in 1957. Ptaszyn's first compositions were written for this band. In the summer of 1958 he was chosen to represent Poland in the International Newport Band set up by the U.S. promoter of jazz, George Wein, and performed with them at the jazz festival in Newport (USA). He joined the band Jazz Believers the same year, and then Andrzej Kurylewicz's band Moderniści. He also worked with Jerzy Milian's radio band playing more popular music, Jerzy Matuszkiewicz's All Stars Swingtet, and the Poznań Radio Fifteen under Zygmunt Mahlik. This was also the time he had his own bands: the Poznań Quintet (1958-59), the Jazz Outsiders (1960-61), the Polish Jazz Quartet (1963-66), the Polish Radio Jazz Studio (1968-78), and the Chałturnik Association in Support of True Creativity (SPPT Chałturnik; 1970-77). In 1973, together with Wojciech Karolak he formed Mainstream (1983-77), and then his well-known Quartet (1978-84).
He was also involved in promoting young artists during this time. He taught classes at the Music Workshops in Chodzież from 1982. A group of musicians under his leadership, comprising Jerzy Głód, Jacek Niedziela, Robert Majewski (and guest performer Henryk Miśkiewicz) soon had their successful debut as The New Presentation. Several other bands came into being in the same way in subsequent years, and included musicians such as Kuba Stankiewicz, Darek Oleszkiewicz, Kazimierz Jonkisz, Bogdan Hołownia.
In the late 1980s Wróblewski began a collaboration with Jarosław Śmietana, resulting in the band Sounds, then Symphonic Sound, and finally Polish All Stars. With Henryk Majewski, he played in S.O.S. (Sitwa Ogromnie Swingujących). He gave concerts in Hungary, Yugoslavia, France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, India, and the United States. At present he has his own sextet and - with Andrzej Jagodziński - the band Czwartet.
Apart from being a jazz musician, he has been a composer for many years. He wrote many songs back in the 1970s, for singers including Andrzej Dąbrowski, Ewa Bem, Łucja Prus, Maryla Rodowicz, and Andrzej Zaucha as well as the vocal group Alibabki. Several were big hits (Moja mama jest przy forsie, Zdzich, Rosołek, Kolega Maj, Dom w Malwy Malowany), and two won the Opole Song Festival - Zielono Mi in 1970 and Żyj Kolorowo in 1979. He also started composing symphonic pieces at this time. At a composers' competition in Prague in 1967, his work Krzysztof Komeda's Talking to the Band won third prize. The premiere of his composition Wariant Warszawski / The Warsaw Variant for great symphony orchestra and jazz quartet took place at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw in 1975, performed by Tomasz Stańko, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Bronisław Suchanek, and Czesław Bartkowski. After that came compositions such as Maestoso Combiato for orchestra and solo baritone saxophone, subsequently performed many times by Henryk Miśkiewicz, the orchestral piece Czytanki Muzyczne / Music Short Stories, and G-Man for chamber orchestra and clarinet, a work commissioned by Wojciech Rajski. Altissimonica for improvising alto saxophone and great symphony orchestra was written in 2000 for Miśkiewicz as the soloist, premiering at the Wrocław Philharmonic the same year, followed by a CD recorded in 2004 by the Polish Radio Orchestra conducted by Zbigniew Graca. His next concerto entitled Coexistence had its premiere in 2006.
As an arranger, in the 1980s he worked with radio orchestras, including the Polish Radio and Television Orchestra conducted by Jan Pruszak which performed the earlier-mentioned symphonic concerts, the S-1 Studio Orchestra, and Andrzej Trzaskowski's big band.
He has many recordings to his credit, his discography comprising over ten original albums and several dozen records on which he is featured.
He has been popularising jazz music for almost 50 years, for example through his own radio programme Trzy Kwadranse Jazzu / Forty-Five Minutes of Jazz, aired on Polish Radio's Programme 2 since 1969. He has also had his own TV programmes like Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski Prezentuje / Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski Presents.
He was awarded a Golden Saxophone by the magazine Dookoła Świata (1958), the Mateusz Święcicki Prize (1996), and an honorary Golden Washboard (2000). He was several times the winner in Jazz Forum magazine's polls in the baritone saxophone (1983-88 and 1992-2001) and arranger (1992-2001) categories. He has received a Commander's Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order. In 2006 the ZPAV Phonographic Academy awarded him a Golden Fryderyk statuette for life achievement. In 2012, he was rewarded with the Annual Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in music category. He also received Polityka’s Passport award as a Creator of Culture in 2016. The same year he joined the winners of Coryphaeus of Polish Music Honorary Awards.
He celebrated a double anniversary in 2016 – his 80th birthday and the 60th anniversary of his artistic career.
In 2006 the publishing house Książka i Wiedza released a book about Jan "Ptaszyn" Wróblewski, Globtroter / Globetrotter by Jacek Wróblewski.
- Krzysztof Komeda's Talking to the Band
- Wariant Warszawski / The Warsaw Variant for great symphony orchestra and jazz quartet (1974)
- Maestoso Combiato for orchestra and solo baritone saxophone
- Czytanki Muzyczne / Music Short Stories for orchestra
- G-Man for chamber orchestra and clarinet
- Altissimonica for improvising alto saxophone and great symphony orchestra (2000)
- Music for the film Pan Anatol szuka miliona / Mr. Anatol Seeks a Million (dir. Jan Rybkowski)
- Music for the film Jej portret / Her Portrait (dir. M. Waśkowski)
- Music for the film Niech żyje miłość / Long Live Love (dir. J. Ber)
- Songs, including Moja mama jest przy forsie, Zdzich, Rosołek, Kolega Maj, Dom w malwy malowany, Zielono mi, Żyj kolorowo
- Sextet Komedy: Festiwal Jazzowy Sopot (1956)
- All Stars Swingtet (1958)
- Jazz Believers (1958)
- Newport International Youth Band (1958)
- Quintet Ptaszyna Wróblewskiego (1960)
- Jazz Outsiders (1961)
- Kwintet Jerzego Miliana + Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski (1961)
- Ballet Etudes:The Music of Komeda (1962)
- Kwintet Andrzeja Kurylewicza (1963)
- Polish Jazz Quartet (1964)
- Ptaszyn Wróblewski Quartet (1965)
- Studio Jazzowe Polskiego Radia (1969)
- Krzysztof Sadowski (1970)
- Krzysztof Komeda Poljazz Serie (1956-72)
- Mieczysław Kosz (1970)
- Koncert podwójny na 5 solistów i orkiestrę (1972)
- Sweet Beat (1972)
- Sprzedawcy glonów (1973)
- Mainstream (1973)
- SPPT Chałturnik (1974)
- SPPT Chałturnik: Kto tak pięknie gra (1975)
- Interjazz (1976)
- Skleroptak (1976)
- Kisa Magnusson & Mainstream (1977)
- Jam Session w Akwarium 1 (1978)
- Flyin' Lady (1978)
- Z lotu Ptaka (1981)
- Grand Standard Orchestra (1982)
- New Presentation (1983)
- Interjazz: Milan Svoboda & the Polish-Czech Big Band (1985)
- Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski: Polish Jazz (1989)
- Czwartet-Live in Hades (1993)
- Made in Poland (1995)
- Henryk Wars Songs (1998)
- Bielska Zadymka Jazzowa (1999)
- Jazz Trio & Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski (2003)
- Blues z drobiu (2005)
- Real Jazz (2005)
- Supercalifragilistic (2007)
- Moi pierwsi mistrzowie: Komeda/Trzaskowski/Kurylewicz (2014)
Originally written in Polish by Anna Iwanicka-Nijakowska, December 2007; updated by MG, March 2019.