In Jazzpospolita’s music there is a clash between rock and jazz, power and lyricism. The band's melodic, clear songs were complemented by their energy at concerts even at the start of their career. Improvisation and, with time, more and more melancholy, burst into the orderly structures of their music.
Jazz band created in 2008 in Warsaw by bass player Stefan Nowakowski and drummer Wojtek Oleksiak
Jazzpospolita was created in 2008 in Warsaw by bass player Stefan Nowakowski and drummer Wojtek Oleksiak. The initial line-up included guitarist Bartek Borowiec and saxophonist Daniel Grzeszykowski, but they were replaced by guitarist Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer and keyboardist Michał Załęski before the band’s first EP, Polished Jazz (2009), was recorded.
The line-up has remained unchanged until today, and the band decided to rely on authorial compositions, frequently closer to post-rock than jazz. Jazzpospolita has never shunned electronics, guitar effects, and on the other hand, dynamic, regular rhythms. It eagerly invokes emotions and creates moods. Thanks to their versatility, the band has gained many fans outside jazz circles.
The musicians have produced all their studio albums themselves. Marcin Cichy, half of the duet Skalpel who also records solo as Meeting By Chance, is responsible for mastering Jazzpospolita’s debut album – Almost Splendid (2010). At that time, critics had already noticed how smoothly rock, post-rock, and electronic music merge in Jazzpospolita’s work.
On Impulse, the album recorded two years later, the musicians put more emphasis on improvisation, and their playing became stronger. This partially resulted from the excellent reception of their energetic concerts performed after their debut CD was released. But, as the musicians described the process, there was something more to it:
In achieving the mood we wanted, our so-called ‘Karwica sessions’ were hugely helpful. Some of the tracks were recorded during our trips to an allotment in Mazury. We immersed ourselves in relaxing and we let time flow peacefully. We would paddle around on a boat, lie in the greenery, and occasionally play something low-key. Less metronome, more time looking at each other.
As Bartek Chaciński wrote about the album in Polityka weekly:
(…) most likely it will appeal to alternative rocks fans more than to lovers of traditional jazz – like the records by foreign bands like Jaga Jazzist or Tortoise, which are also experiments on the verge of jazz, rock, and electronic music. But this Jazzpospolita album is definitely worth attention – the band’s instrumentalists are very mature musically, and make a great team.
Jazzpospolita chooses record producers for electronic music very wisely. The record RePolished Jazz, released at the end of 2012, is comprised of two EPs: six intriguing remixes, and the EP Polished Jazz, initially self-published at the beginning of their career. This album is an excellent introduction to the world of Jazzpospolita: in the debut, one can clearly hear their enthusiasm and energy, and although the remixes don’t diverge too much from the (extensive) style of the band, they’re almost like new authorial material.
A Foreigner's Guide to Polish Jazz
JAZZPOSPOLITA Live in China | JAZZ PO POLSKU on tour 2015 | trailer
In the autumn of 2014, the album titled Jazzpo! (as fans frequently call the band) was released, surprising the audience with a number of melancholic, impressionist songs, the longest ones (Topniejący Śnieg, Lot) lasting over eight minutes. The rock track Motor motor motor, with its spectacular drum passage, was chosen to promote the album. On this album, Przerwa-Tetmajer became the main figure of the band, which had previously played very collectively. Przerwa-Tetmajer’s guitar calls up the music of the Balkans or the Middle East, progressive rock, and elegant jazz. It is the guitar that leads the band through dense rock rhythms and tender ballads. The guitarist released a solo record, Doktor Filozofii in 2014, and in the spring of 2016 his band Niskie Ciśnienie (with Alicja Peszkowska as vocalist and Aleksandra Janus as lyricist) debuted.
Pink Freud and Jazzpospolita on Tour in China
Jazzpospolita has appeared at many festivals, including London Jazz Festival, Match & Fuse, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Comblain Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, Eldenaer Jazz Evenings, Garana Jazz, and Kalingrad City Jazz. They performed at the biggest Polish rock festival, Open’er, and Program 3 Polskiego Radia, one of the most popular radio channels, dubbed Jazzpospolita the live discovery of 2011. In 2015, Jazzpospolita and another band, Pink Freud, went on a tour of China, where they played 11 concerts. Those concerts included, among others, Beijing Nine Gates Festival and Shenzen Oct Loft Festival.
The successful tour resulted in the recording of the album Jazzpo! Live Made in China, which was the band’s first concert album of the band. In the subsequent months, the musicians started to put their plans to record another studio album into practice. The seventh album of Jazzpospolita, entitled Humanizm (Humanism), was released in spring 2017. The album brought an entirely new dimension to the discography of the band, as this time the material was enriched by two intriguing guest voices – vocalists Paulina Przybysz and Novika, who took part in the recording of two songs.
The album was recorded in a 19th-century manor house in Nieborzyn. The distance from the hustle and bustle of the city combined with the manor’s natural surroundings gave the music a calm touch, evoking associations with nature. Jacek Trzeszczyński took care to create the appropriate sound for the album despite the unusual interior it was recorded in. He transformed the historic manor house into a recording studio and produced of the album.
The year 2018 brought some changes to the band’s line-up. The guitarist Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer was replaced by Łukasz Borowicki and the drummer Karol Domański replaced Wojtek Oleksiak. With a new crew on board, Jazzpospolita began production of a new album, recorded in the spring of 2019 and released at the beginning of 2020. The album was entitled Przypływ (The Tide) and promoted by the single Przedwiośnie (Early Spring, trans. MG). On one hand, it brought a sense of novelty resulting from the reshuffling of the line-up, and on the other, it became the most coherent album in Jazzpospolita’s output to date. Previously, the albums were the fruits of collective work of the whole band. This time, most of the material was prepared by Stefan Nowakowski and Łukasz Borowicki.
Jazzpospolita, Możdżer and More at the London Jazz Festival 2012
21st century polish jazz
contemporary polish music
polish music in china
- 2009 – Polished Jazz
- 2010 – Almost Splendid
- 2012 – Impulse
- 2012 – RePolished Jazz
- 2014 – Jazzpo!
- 2016 – Jazzpo! Live Made in China
- 2017 – Humanizm / Humanism
- 2020 – Przypływ / The Tide
Jazzpospolita’s website: jazzpospolita.com
Written by Jacek Świąder, translation NS June 2016, updated by MG, August 2020.