Adam Pierończyk is a soprano, tenor saxophonist, and one of the most important figures in Polish jazz. Frankfurter Allgemaine Zeitung described him as ‘a ray of hope on the Eastern European jazz scene’.
Saksofonista sopranowy i tenorowy, jedna z najważniejszych postaci w polskim jazzie.
Born in 1970, he started playing the saxophone at the age of 18 and four years later became a student of the Academy of Music in Essen. The beginnings of his musical career are connected with the German scene. It was also there that his first band Temathe was formed. After returning to Poland in 1994, Pierończyk immediately entered the orbit of the young generation’s most active and adventurous musicians. Two years later he was invited by Leszek Możdżer to record the album Talk To Jesus. They later formed a duo which earned a place in the history of Polish jazz not only with a series of well-received concerts but also with two albums which were highly appreciated by professionals – 19-9-1999 and Live In Sofia. The latter was recognised by Jazz Forum magazine as the Best Jazz Album of the Year.
Adam Pierończyk is not only an excellent sax player but also a music personality strong enough to boldly take on the challenges facing a bandleader. He made his debut in this role in 1997 when the album Few Minutes In Space hit the shelves. Zbigniew Namysłowski, an idol of his in the past, took part in the recording. Two generations of Polish jazzmen met on the album and Pierończyk started to be known as the best hope of the Polish jazz scene. This was also confirmed by the first of his many nominations for Fryderyk Awards.
His position was strengthened by his subsequent albums, recorded not for Polish labels, but the well-known German label PAO Records. In 2001, the album Digivooco, heavily influenced by electronic music, was released. It was produced with saxophonist Gary Thomas as a special guest. Then came Amusos, on which a black female vocalist from Benin, Mina Agassi, premiered. In the following years, Pierończyk released albums in another German label, Meta Records – Busem po São Paulo (São Paulo by Bus) and its concert version Live In Berlin. Each of these records received very high praise not only in Poland but also abroad and to a great extent consolidated the opinion of Adam Pierończyk as one of Europe’s most innovative artists.
In 2010, Pierończyk once again changed his publisher and signed a contract with the prestigious Berlin-based label Jazzwerkstatt. Their first album was El Buscador, the most ethnic-influenced of all Pierończyk’s albums. It recorded with the famous double bass player Anthony Cox and was nominated for a Fryderyk Award in 2011.
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His next album, KOMEDA – The Innocent Sorcerer, was a breakthrough for Pierończyk in several aspects. For the first time, the musician used compositions by others and additionally interpreted them by renouncing the piano parts. It was a risk which turned out to be a complete success. KOMEDA was hailed as the best Komeda album since Tomasz Stańko’s Litania and its author was considered a visionary. This recognition is all the more valuable as it was also expressed by American critics from PopMatters magazine and the world’s most famous jazz portal All About Jazz. In Poland, the album received five Fryderyk nominations and won in two categories, for the Jazz Album of the Year and Jazz Music of the Year.
Pierończyk’s last album released by the Jazzwerkstatt Berlin label was The Planet Of Eternal Life, a solo recital for soprano saxophone, which the artist performed in June 2013 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Jazzwertkstatt in Peitz.
Recently, Pierończyk’s cooperation with Miroslav Vitous, a world-famous Czech double bassist who played with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Jo Zawinul, proved particularly fruitful. Their first joint album, Wings, was nominated for the Fryderyk 2016 awards in the category Jazz Album of the Year, and Pierończyk himself was nominated in the new category of Artist of the Year. The duo’s second album, released by the Austrian label PAO Records, Ad-lib Orbits, consists of 16 improvised tracks composed by both musicians and recorded in Vitous’ studio.
Over almost two decades of activity on the music scene, Adam Pierończyk has become one of the Polish jazz scene’s most renowned performers. He gives concerts all over the world. Since 2003 he has continuously won Jazz Forum’s survey in the Best Soprano Saxophonist category. His track record as a bandleader is as impressive as his work as a sideman. He has played and recorded with many famous jazz figures, among whom it is worth mentioning names such as Gary Thomas, Anthony Cox, Michel Donato, Andrzej Cudzich, Oleś brothers, Vitold Rek, Wolfgang Pushnig, Herb Robertson, Mircea Tiberian, Maurice de Martin, Jacek Kochan, Ed Schuller, Anna Serafinska, Nelson Veras, Sam Rivers, Greg Osby, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Trilok Gurtu, Ted Curson, Lage Lund, Orlando Le Fleming, Joe Martin, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Avishai Cohen, Tomasz Stańko, Archie Shepp, Bobby McFerrin, and Joey Calderazzo. He has performed in clubs and festivals in Europe (Poland, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Ukraine) and beyond (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Israel, United States). In August 2019, Pierończyk performed in Tehran at the Show of Hands Festival.
He also composes music for theatre performances, such as Śmierdź in the Mountains by Konrad Imiela and Cezary Studniak (2006), Stalker by Jakub Roszkowski (2012), Schweik: At the Back by Adam Walny (2013). Between 2004 and 2005 he was the artistic director of the Jazz aux Oudayas and Jazz Au Chellah festivals in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. From 2011 to 2015, he was the artistic director of Sopot Jazz Festival. Since 2019, he has been the artistic director and resident artist of the Jazz Juniors Festival in Kraków.
- Adam Pierończyk / Miroslav Vitous – Ad–lib Orbitis (PAO, 2017)
- Adam Pierończyk – Monte Albán (Jazzsound, 2016) – nomination: Jazz Album of the Year – Fryderyk 2017
- Adam Pierończyk / Miroslav Vitous – Wings (For Tune, 2015) – nomination: Jazz Album of the Year – Fryderyk 2016
- Adam Pierończyk – Migratory Poets feat. Anthony Joseph (For Tune, 2015)
- Adam Pierończyk Quartet – A–Trane Nights (For Tune, 2014)
- Adam Pierończyk – The Planet of Eternal Life (Jazzwerkstatt, 2013)
- Adam Pierończyk Quintet – Komeda: The Innocent Sorcerer (Jazzwerkstatt, 2011) – Fryderyk Award: Jazz Album of the Year 2011
- Borys Szyc / Adam Pierończyk – Gajcy (Warsaw Uprising Museum, 2010)
- Adam Pierończyk Quartet – El Buscador (Jazzwerkstatt, 2010) – nomination: Jazz Album of the Year – Fryderyk 2011
- Adam Pierończyk Trio – Live at A38 (SPV Records, 2008)
- Adam Pierończyk Trio – Live in Berlin (Meta Records, 2007)
- Adam Pierończyk Trio – Busem po Sao Paulo (PAO, 2006)
- Adam Pierończyk – Amusos (PAO, 2003)
- Adam Pierończyk – Digivooco feat. Gary Thomas (PAO, 2001)
- Adam Pierończyk Trio – Few Minutes in The Space (GOWI Records, 1997) – nomination: Jazz Album of the Year – Fryderyk 1997
With Leszek Możdżer:
- Leszek Możdżer Sextet – Talk To Jesus (GOWI Records, 1996)
- Anniversary Concert In Hestia (DUX, 1996)
- Live In Sofia (Not Two, 1998) – Nomination: Jazz Album of the Year – Fryderyk 1998
- 19–9–99 (Not Two, 2003)
- Pierończyk / Fink / deMartin – Plastinated Black Sheep (Meta Records 2001)
- Pierończyk / Kochan / Schuller – Plastinated Black Sheep (Not Two/Hi–Fi I Music, 1999)
- Temathe – Water Conversations (Theme, 1996)
- INTERZONE plays with Adam Pierończyk (Not Two, 2000)
- Transylvanian Grace (Not Two, 2002)
- Shinning Of The Abbys (Jam Records, 2004)
- Tadeusz Sudnik – Tadeusz Sudnik & His Friends In Art (Audio Cave, 2017)
- Andy Manndorff – Up To Scratch (Emarcy, 2005)
- Chromosomos – Ultra Project (AMM, 2000)
- East/West Wind – Live (Taso Music, 1998)
- Andrzej Cudzich – Simple Way (CD Sound 1998)
Contact: adampieronczyk.com, facebook.com/AdamPieronczyk
Author: jazzarium.pl, December 2013; updated: MG, September 2019.
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