A cultural organiser, initiator of the founding of the Szczecin Academy of Art and jazz saxophonist.
In 2000, after finishing music high school in Szczecin, Sylwester Ostrowski wasn't accepted to the Music Academy in Katowice (the only jazz department in Poland in those days). This made him stay in his hometown and start working in various fields connected with music: as a cultural organiser, music producer (of titles such as Circles by Piotr Wojtasik, for which he was given the Polish Phonographic Academy's Fryderyk Music Award) and cultural advisor of Szczecin’s mayor and city hall.
He was the initiator and driving force behind the founding of the first artistic university in Szczecin, the Szczecin Academy of Art, which is the first Polish higher education institution which offers programmes in various artistic disciplines. Because the only way to found a public university in Poland is via an act of parliament, Sylwester Ostrowski was forced to devote himself fully to his new goals and objectives.
For a certain period of time I replaced my saxophone with stamps, statutes, bank transfers… I was just preoccupied with a few things thanks to which young people can study visual arts and music at the public university – he said in an interview for Jazz Forum. – After I got rejected by Katowice I started changing the reality around me for the better. I founded a union, started to organize concerts, contests, and festivals and I published albums. Between 2008 and 2010 Marcin Zydorowicz – Governor of Western Pomerania - called me up for the post of Supervisor of the Founding of the University. In 2010 all my efforts, supported by thousands of people, turned out to be successful.
During these years working as an organiser, he met most of the significant musicians in Poland. Thanks to friends he had made in this time, once the Academy was founded he could try to return to his primary passion – playing jazz on the tenor saxophone. Piotr Wojtasik gave him a helping hand and offered him a recording session with top American musicians: Wayne Dockery (bassist, former member of The Jazz Messengers), Newman T. Baker (Billy Harper’s long-time drummer) and Reggie Moore on the piano.
[Wojtasik] told me that it was going to be ultra demanding, on the verge of feasibility, that I would have to set a goal and go for it. (…) It was so, so hard… I practised eight hours a day for a few months, but I made it.
This is how When The Groove Is Low (2011) came into being. The album was credited to Ostrowski–Wojtasik Quintet. The band hit the road and played at various festivals in Poland and abroad (including in Japan). In 2013, they released their second album entitled Don’t Explain, which was distributed with the popular Jazz Forum magazine.
2011 – When The Groove Is Low
2013 – Don’t Explain
Author: W.O., April 17th 2014.