The fifth edition of the Jazztopad Festival in New York will take place from 24th to 26th August. It will feature the participation of several remarkable Polish artists: Wacława Zimpla, Ksawerego Wójcińskiego, Aga Derlak Quintet, Amira Elsaffara and Lutosławski Quartet.
Once again, a special presentation of Jazztopad Festival featuring Polish artists will take place in the United States and Canada, in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York. Until now, the festival has presented such artists and bands around the world as: Marcin Wasilewski Trio, Marcin Masecki, Maciej Obara Quartet, Piotr Damasiewicz Quintet, Piotr Orzechowski, Kuba Więcek Trio, Wójciński / Szmańda Quartet and Lutosławski Quartet.
Jazztopad Festival has been running for the last 15 years under the umbrella of the National Forum of Music in Wrocław, Poland. Jazztopad’s most distinctive feature is its commitment to commissioning new music and presenting special projects tailored for the festival. The festival has been exploring sounds coming from the regions not frequently associated with jazz (Korea, Turkey, Japan and India), presenting house concerts and educational projects with film screenings and live improvisation. Some of the major names commissioned by Jazztopad have been: Charles Lloyd, Wayne Shorter, Amir ElSaffar, Kenny Wheeler, Vijay Iyer, Benoit Delbecq, Terje Rypdal, Jason Moran, John Surman, William Parker and others. The festival, artistically led by Piotr Turkiewicz, had some of its commissions released on the prestigious ECM, Blue Note and AUM labels.
As the only Polish festival, Jazztopad has built relationships with the most important jazz centres in the world, supporting the promotion of Polish improvised music and cultural exchange for many years. So far, Jazztopad events have been held in the US, Canada, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, Mexico and Israel. The festival has worked with such partners as: Jarasum International Jazz Festival, Tokyo Jazz Festival, Akbank Jazz Festival and in the last five years – with TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival in Canada; Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Jazz Gallery, Jazz Standard, Joe's Pub and National Sawdust in New York; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington and Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Chicago.
The music of the Aga Derlak Quintet (line-up: Aga Derlak – piano, Alonzo Demetrius – trumpet, Luke Norris – tenor saxophone, Aaron American Holthus – double bass, Connor Kent – drums) is the result of the experience of combining two cultures, which sometimes complement each other and sometimes contradict. The band has courage and crazy passion combined with Polish lyricism and melancholy. The leader is a young pianist and composer Aga Derlak. Since 2013, she has also performed in her own Aga Derlak Trio, with which in 2016 she won the most important Polish music award - Fryderyk in the Phonographic Debut of the Year category (for the disc First Thought).
Jazztopad will present the American premiere of Ahwaal, a piece by Amir ElSaffar composed for Lutosławski Quartet, Wacław Zimpel and Ksawery Wójciński. The composer will also take part in the concert and will perform the trumpet part, the santura part, as well as the vocal part. The piece commissioned by Jazztopad Festival had its premiere during Jazztopad 2018. The concept of ahwaal is an important idea of Sufism meaning 'states of consciousness' and describing the path of humans towards divinity. Individual states, stages of this path, appear and disappear quickly like lightning. The composition has a meditative character, it consists of both scored and improvised fragments. It refers to the traditional Arabic maqam melody, with subtle inspirations by Beethoven's late quartets. The premiere of Ahwaal will be preceded by a solo performance by Wacław Zimpel.
Amir ElSaffar is a classically trained trumpeter who develops jazz language, combining it with the aesthetics derived from traditional music of the Middle East – the Iraqi maqam. The musician publishes his albums (six out of eight original albums) in the catalog of Pi Recordings, one of the most interesting record labels of the 21st century connected with jazz music. Amir ElSaffar explored maqam after graduation, during a five-year search for the masters of this genre. During this time, he also learned to play santura and speak the Arabic language, which he uses in vocal parts in his works. He is the winner of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and fellow of this year's scholarship of United States Artists – a prestigious non-governmental organization supporting various fields of art. He has collaborated with such artists as Cecil Taylor, Nasheet Waits, Rudresh Mahanthappa and John Escreet.
Wacław Zimpel is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who, inspired by jazz, electronics, minimalism and world music, creates his own completely new musical language. He continues his impressive solo career and at the same time is involved in the Saagara project, successfully combining stylistics seemingly incompatible: Western jazz and Hindu raga. Zimpel also appears with the LAM trio, filling the gap between minimalism and trance. He collaborates with Kuba Ziołek, with whom he has performed at the Rocket Recordings 20 festival in London.
Ksawery Wójciński is a double-bass player active in both jazz, avant-garde and Polish ethnic music. He has collaborated with such artists as Uri Caine, Charles Gayle, Michael Zerang, Hamid Drake, Nicole Mitchell and Marco Eneidi. He currently performs with the Wójciński / Szmańda Quartet.
Lutosławski Quartet (line-up: Robert Kwiatkowski – 1st violin, Marcin Markowicz – 2nd violin, Artur Rozmysłowicz – viola, Maciej Młodawski – cello) is a resident ensemble of the National Forum of Music in Wrocław and one of the leading string quartets in Poland. It has performed with outstanding classical and jazz musicians such as: Garrick Ohlsson, Piotr Anderszewski, Kevin Kenner, Bruno Canino, Eugen Indjic, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Uri Caine, Benoît Delbecq, Vijay Iyer and Charles Lloyd; it has also collaborated with the Paris IRCAM. Lutosławski Quartet has for Naxos, DUX, CD Accord and the NFM. It focuses on the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, devoting much attention to the popularisation of Polish works.
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
Dizzy’s Club, JALC
contemporary polish music
polish music abroad
dont' panic we're from poland
The project is co-organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme marking the centenary of Poland’s regained independence. Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual NIEPODLEGŁA programme 2017–2022.
Source: Jazztopad Festival press release