Piotr Wojtasik is a jazz trumpeter and composer, born on 10th June 1964 in Wrocław.
Trębacz, kompozytor, absolwent Akademii Muzycznej w Katowicach.
He started his professional career at the Music Academy in Katowice where he studied between 1978 and 1983. In 1988 he recorded his first album with New Presentation group and debuted at the most prestigious Polish jazz festival – The Jazz Jamboree.
His first individual album came in 1993 and featured some of the finest orthodox jazz musicians of that time: Jan ‘Ptaszyn’ Wróblewski on tenor saxophone, Wojciech Niedziela on piano, Andrzej Cudzich on double bass and Eryk Kulm on the drums. Since then, he has been amazingly successful as a band leader, recording with the majority of the best Polish artists and some significant jazz players from all around the world (such as David Liebmann, Buster Williams, Ben Riley, Reggie Workman, Vincent Herring Gary Bartz, Wayne Dockery or Wes McCraven).
A Foreigner's Guide to Polish Jazz
Yet, among his many prominent associates, Billy Harper and their long-lasting friendship is worth mentioning. They met in the late 1990s when Wojtasik was working on his album entitled Quest. To date, they tour together from time to time and feature on each other’s albums.
Thirty years into his career, Piotr Wojtasik has become one of the most celebrated trumpeters and a leader of his generation in Poland. He featured numerous times in the Jazz Forum poll Jazz Top, his albums are regularly nominated for Fryderyk Awards (the most important music industry award in Poland), which he won in 2008 in the categories of ‘Best Jazz Artist Of The Year’ and ‘ Best Jazz Album Of The Year’ for his album Circles – recorded with an extended set of woodwinds and brasses, based on the legendary rhythm section of Jean-Jacques Avenel on double bass and John Betsch on the drums. He has toured all around the world visiting the most exciting festivals and legendary jazz clubs (like Vienna’s Porgy & Bess and Paris’ Sun Set).
He does not record often. So far, 12 albums signed under his name have been released but every time they have appeared, they have immediately turned out to be significant and appreciated works. This was the case of the already mentioned Circles, as well as Blackout, recorded with the participation of exquisite singer Judy Bady.
Wojtasik’s subsequent records included an array of outstanding jazz musicians. On Old Land he was accompanied by Grzegorz Nagórski (trombone), John Betsch and Billy Hart (double drums), Sylwester Ostrowski (saxophone), Kirk Lightsey (drums), Essiet Essiet (double bass) and vocalists Angelika Anozie, Anna Maria Mbayo and Marta Florek. Amazing Twelve was recorded with a quartet consisting of excellent Hungarian tenor saxophonist Viktor Toth, double bassist Michał Barański and drummer John Betsch. Wojtasik’s next album was a musical tribute to one of the symbols of the Polish jazz scene – the Warsaw club Akwarium. On Tribute to Akwarium the trumpeter was accompanied by Sebastian Sołdrzyński, Marcin Kaletka, Leszek Możdżer, Marek Kądziela, Dominik Wania, Dariusz Oleszkiewicz, Eric Allen and Jakub Miarczyński.
The album To Whom it May Concern from 2018 crowns Piotr Wojtasik’s 30-year career. It is the 12th album recorded under his direction. The material was produced in 2016 in Les Studios de Meudon in France. It consists of eight original compositions by Wojtasik, played by an international band: Viktor Tóth (Hungary), Sylwester Ostrowski, Bobby Few (USA, France), Joris Teepe (the Netherlands) and John Betsch (USA, France).
Piotr Wojtasik holds the academic title of professor. He lectures at the Institute of Jazz and Popular Music at the Academy of Music in Katowice. During his dozen or so years of teaching at the music academies in Katowice and Wrocław, as well as conducting music workshops and individual lessons, he has become a highly respected tutor, whose contribution to raising the substantive level of teaching over the past decades is invaluable.
Polish Jazz - Freedom at Last
As a leader:
- Piotr Wojtasik (Power Bros 1993)
- Lonely Town (Power Bros 1995)
- Quest (Power Bros, 1995)
- Escape (Power Bros, 1999)
- Hope (Power Bros, 2003)
- We want to give thanks (SOJ, 2006)
- Circle (SOJ, 2008)
- Blackout (SOJ, 2010)
- Old Land (SOJ, 2013)
- Amazing Twelve (SOJ, 2015)
- Tribute to Akwarium (2017)
- To Whom it May Concern (2018)
As a Band Member:
- Young Power – Young Power (Polskie Nagrania 1986)
- Young Power – Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo (Polskie Nagrania 1989)
- Young Power – Man Of Tra (Power Bros. 1989)
- Lora Szafran – Lonesome dancer (Polish Jazz 1989)
- Traveling Birds Quintet – Traveling birds quintet (1994)
- Traveling Birds Quintet – Return to the nest (1995)
- Leszek Możdżer – Talk to Jesus (GOWI, 1996)
- Krzysztof Popek – Letters & Leaves (Power Bros. 1997)
- Kuba Stankiewicz/Inga Lewandowska – Ulice wielkich miast (Intro Music 2000)
- Piotr Baron – Bogurodzica (Universal Music Group, 2000)
- Colors – Colors (SOJ, 204)
- Krzysztof Popek – You Are In My Heart (Power Bros. 2006)
- Graal – Live In Bohema Jazz Club (Biodro Records 2007)
- Piotr Baron – Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus (CelEsTis, 2008)
- Krzysztof Popek – Estate (Power Bros 2009)
Artist’s website: facebook.com/piotrwojtasikmusic/
Author: jazzarium.pl, December 2013, translated with edits by W.O. March 2014, updated by MG, August 2020.
Jazz in the Lives & Works of Polish Writers