Jazz will be heard at the Stodoła club for four consecutive evenings. Artists from the United States will play, where the genre was born. The London scene will be strongly represented, because it is considered the most interesting today. There will be European accents. There will also be a great benefit for Zbigniew Namysłowski.
Jazz Jamboree is one of the oldest European jazz festivals. But the brand and the tradition behind it are not enough to attract listeners. The program must be the magnet, and this year is again interesting.
Thursday: Dominik Wania, Scofield / Holland, Ghost-Note
The beginning of the festival will be quiet. Dominik Wania will play a solo concert, who thanks to last year’s album “Lonely Shadows” has completed the shelf with prizes. Although the most important was the non-statuette-related awareness of being the first Polish musician in history to record a solo album for the prestigious Munich-based ECM label. However, do not expect the material to play one-to-one. When entering the Auditorio Stelio Molo studio in Lugano, the pianist did not have any notes in front of him with a precise notation of the pieces, he had a concept in his head, which he implements a bit differently each time – as in jazz.
“Wania’s music is a bridge between the pure freedom of improvisation, derived from jazz music, and pianism permeated with European classical music. Like the new album, the artist’s solo concerts are an invitation to discover the world of sounds built according to the principle of ‘here and now'” – the organizers announce the concert.
After Vania, two old masters will appear on the stage who do not need to be introduced to jazz fans: guitarist John Scofield and bassist Dave Holland. They both have a dossier with the most important jazz musicians of the last five decades, including Miles Davis himself. But the duo’s minimalist convention is a relatively fresh project for them. – Scofield with Holland is a tribute to those recipients who may not know the other names from this year’s lineup – tells us Mariusz Adamiak, head of Jazz Jamboree. – Without denying the old masters anything, I believe that you have to be on the side of the new art – he adds.
The representative of what is new will be Ghost-Note, ending the first day of the festival. This is a band that focuses on pulsating rhythm, strong beats and wild spontaneity over solo performances. It can be assumed that during the tours in the team’s bus, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z rather than John Coltrane and Keith Jarret are coming from the speakers. And you can hear it in their music, far from jazz orthodoxy. It was appreciated by young fans during many concerts in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. – It is such a proletarian big band – concludes Adamiak jokingly.
Friday: Theon Cross, Rymden, Camilla George
Theon Cross will be the star of the second day of Jazz Jamboree. He is a tuba musician, an instrument that is very rare in the jazz world. And already the tuba player as a leader is a real sensation. Cross is one of the leading figures of the golden generation of London jazz, he made himself known to the audience as a Sons of Kemet musician (great concert at Jazz Jantar in Gdańsk in 2019). In Shabaki Hutchings’ band he proved the potential of the tuba and quickly became independent by recording the album “Fyah” under his own name. And the fusion of electro, funk and live jazz is still gaining ground, so you can expect that the dance floor in Stodola will be hot on Friday evening.
You will come to cool down during the performance of the Rymden group. It is a trio created by Dan Berglund and Magnus Öström, the est rhythm section, which ended after the tragic death of the pianist and band leader Esbjörn Svensson. Although the musicians met again in the form of a classic three-piece band, it is not a continuation of the style est. Together with pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, they added a bit of rock rock to their melodic playing. – It’s strange music, kind of acoustic but electric. Like jazz, with excursions towards progressive rock. Rymden is currently one of the most interesting formations on the market. I am glad that we finally managed to get them. They were supposed to be a year ago, but panedmia thwarted plans – says our interlocutor and assures that despite all the problems with defining the music of the Swedes, it is “a piece of great jazz”.
Camilla George also spares no compliments. The saxophonist born in Nigeria is an important figure in the above-mentioned London scene, where the heart of jazz beats the most. It beats in a changing rhythm because it is influenced by many species present in the multicultural melting pot of contemporary London. On the last album of the saxophonist “The People Could Fly” you can hear both Caribbean-African traditions and the influence of spiritual jazz.
George is also evidence of another valuable phenomenon – the greater presence of women in roles reserved for years for men. – For years the ladies in jazz mostly sang, they didn’t have their own bands. Of course, there were women who played the trumpet or the saxophone, but it was a rarity, treated as a curiosity. Fortunately, this has changed as a consequence of deeper social changes. I have found out that this is quite a new musical phenomenon – notes the head of Jazz Jamboree.
Saturday: Zbigniew Namysłowski’s day
The third day of the festival will be special, because its hero will be one man – Zbigniew Namysłowski. A musician whose name should be put in line with Krzysztof Komeda, Tomasz Stańka and Zbigniew Seifert, on the short list of fundamental figures for Polish jazz. The saxophonist was one of the first Poles to go with his jazz to the homeland of the genre – the United States. And he did it at the beginning of the 1960s. Also in this decade, he recorded an excellent album “Lola” for the Decca label (unfortunately not available today, neither on CD nor on vinyl). On the other hand, “Kujaviak Goes Funky” and “Winobranie” have been released many times, and they always appear in the lists of the most important Polish jazz albums.
For several decades, the saxophonist was the leader of many bands – we will hear six of them on Saturday in Stodoła. They will be: Winobranie, Kuyaviak Goes Funky, Jasmin Lady, Air Condition, Super Band, Zbigniew Namysłowski Quintet. – It will be a cross-section of the works of Namysłowski, definitely one of the most important Polish jazzmen. I also hope that this evening will be a pretext for a social gathering that Jazz Jamboree was in the past. I do not rule out that such a concept will become a permanent element of the festival’s program. Time will verify this – announces Mariusz Adamiak.
Sunday: Yazz Ahmed Quartet, Faraj Suleiman, Lakecia Benjamin
The finals of the festival day will be dominated by those to whom the future belongs. Trumpeter Yazz Ahmed was born and raised in Bahrain, but lives in London and made her debut here in 2012. In her playing you can hear fascination with funk, fusion, world music and club music. After the second album “La Saboteuse”, the sound of her trumpet was sometimes compared to Miles Davis from “Bitches Brew” or Nils Petter Molvaer from “Khmer”. Until the third, “Polyhymnia”, she engaged many women, manifesting feminist beliefs. – The album is a celebration of female courage, determination and creativity – she described. But she also appealed to Middle Eastern musical themes.
They are even clearer in the artist’s second day – the Palestinian Faraj Suleiman. On streaming services, you can find mainly his songs, which do not seem to fit the convention of the Warsaw festival. But, as Adamiak assures us, during a solo concert in Stodola, the musician will present his jazz face.
The last artist of this year’s Jazz Jamboree will be Lakecia Benjamin. The rising star of the alto saxophone combines traditional concepts of jazz, hip hop and soul. Collaboration with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, The Roots and Macy Gray makes him move freely in a variety of styles.
All concerts of the Jazz Jamboree festival will take place in the Stodoła club, at 10 Batorego Street. Concerts start at 19.
Main photo source: Mar. organizer