“The Jazztopad Festival, a leading event of its kind in Poland…”
–NATE CHINEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“…Jazztopad stands as an internationally renowned festival with a clearly defined ethos, one that combines a strong respect for the traditions and roots of the music with a progressive vision that provides a platform for the contemporary and innovative.”
–IAN PATTERSON, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
JAZZTOPAD FESTIVAL in partnership with POLISH CULTURAL INSTITUTE NEW YORK presents THE GREAT IMPROVISATION series at NATIONAL FORUM OF MUSIC live streamed online
11 APRIL 2021, SUNDAY, 2 PM (EST), 11 AM (PST) – MANIUCHA & KSAWERY
National Forum of Music, Red Hall
Free live streaming at
- Center for World Music
- Polish Music Center USC Thornton School of Music
- Center for Traditional Music and Dance
- The Ukrainian Museum
- Detroit Institute of Arts
17 APRIL 2021, SATURDAY, 2 PM (EST), 11 AM (PST) – WOJCIECH JACHNA SQUAD – ELEMENT
National Forum of Music, Red Hall
Free live streaming at
Jazztopad Festival, in partnership with Polish Cultural Institute New York presents The Great Improvisation series online live streamed from the National Forum of Music (NFM) in Wrocław, Poland. The series presents various faces of jazz – from bold avant-garde and daring improvisation through to the mainstream. The ideal acoustics of the NFM halls provide a perfect environment for both young Polish bands as well as established artists. The series has presented such musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Bobo Stenson, Gregory Porter, Tomasz Stańko, Kuba Więcek, Brad Mehldau, and Dianne Reeves.
The Polish jazz scene has been a strongly recognizable brand in the world, both in terms of quality of festivals and the craft of artists. Jazztopad Festival has been running for the past 17 years under the umbrella of the National Forum of Music. Jazztopad’s most distinctive feature is its commitment to commissioning new music and presenting special projects tailored for the festival. As the only Polish festival, Jazztopad has built relationships with the most important jazz centers in the world, supporting the promotion of Polish improvised music and cultural exchange for many years. Since 2015 Jazztopad has had annual editions in New York.
Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 2 PM (EST), 11 AM (PST), Maniucha & Ksawery. They are a vocal and bass duo drawing inspiration from the deep-rooted yet endangered traditional songs of the vast Polesie region in Ukraine. Their compositions combine jazz improvisation with songs of spring, harvest, weddings, lullabies and love, to create a narrative of the cycles of nature and human life. Free live streaming at Center for World Music, Polish Music Center USC Thornton School of Music, The Ukrainian Museum, Center for Traditional Music and Dance, and Detroit Institute of Arts.
Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 2 PM (EST), 11 AM (PST), Wojciech Jachna Squad spatial take on improvisation brings a lot of much needed air into Polish jazz scene. “It is a fulfillment of a youthful dream of having my own team, best friends squad, colleagues with whom you can make music together. There is room for each member’s composition, improvisation and shared joke.” Free live streaming at Detroit Institute of Arts.
The Great Improvisation online series is presented by Jazztopad Festival and National Forum of Music, in partnership with Polish Cultural Institute New York, and in collaboration with Center for World Music, Polish Music Center USC Thornton School of Music, The Ukrainian Museum in New York, Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Detroit Institute of Arts, West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society (WSDPAHS), and Friends of Polish Art, Detroit (FPA).
All concerts will also live stream on the websites and social media channels of National Forum of Music, Jazztopad Festival, Polish Cultural Institute New York, and Europe Jazz Network.
Contacts for American & Polish American press:
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Maniucha & Ksawery is a duo that draws on the deep-rooted yet endangered traditional songs of the vast Polissya region in Ukraine. Their compositions combine jazz improvisation with songs of spring, harvest, weddings, lullabies and love to create a narrative of the cycles of nature and human life. Vocalist Maniucha Bikont is known for her long-term involvement in both traditional and experimental fields and has spent many years travelling to meet and learn from old singers in the Ukranian villages. Double bass virtuoso Ksawery Wójciński’s spectrum of musical genres reaches from early music to contemporary improvised music. Together Maniucha & Ksawery produce vibrant and adventurous tone-poems out of their minimal instrumentation, as heard on their debut album, Oj Borom, Borom, recorded thanks to the Polish National Radio Award and the support of their fans. Maniucha & Ksawery enjoy performing in cosy intimate spaces (small stages, backyards, countryside barns) as well as acoustically refined concert halls. During their concerts they not only sing and play music but also recall the stories and fables connected with their repertoire.
Oj Borom, Borom is an attempt to create a multilayered tale based on archaic songs from western Polissya. Their starting point are traditional songs, stories, fairy tales. Vocal techniques, emotionality of this musical material, but also memory of situations, people, nature and stories accompanying the songs, are the pretext for making music together. The tales are narrated by voice and double-bass side by side as equivalent storytellers. Voice and bass become analogical participants of musical action, their parts inter-penetrate, balance, exchange. During this process it turns out that traditional music and improvised music are the languages so similar to each other, that they could be local dialects of the same language.
Ksawery Wójciński, double-bass player, composer and musician with extraordinary sensitivity and daring for experiments. His spectrum of musical genres reaches from early music to the most refined contemporary improvised music. He collaborated with musicians such as: Charles Gayle, Uri Caine, Mikołaj Trzaska, Michael Zerang, Satoko Fuji, Nicolle Mitchell, Tim Sparks, Klaus Kugel, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson, Gaba Kulka, Robert Rasz, Wacław Zimpel, Paweł Postaremczak, Raphael Roginski. He is a co-founder of ensembles such as Emergency and Hera.
Maniucha Bikont, vocalist, musician, anthropologist. She conducted a number of field recordings in Poland, Ukraine and Russia. Maniucha is a member of music and theatre groups dealing with traditional music, rituals, improvisation and unconventional vocal techniques such as Dziczka, Z Lasu, Niewte, Gęba and Tęgie Chłopy (where she sings and plays the tuba). She collaborates with Janusz Prusinowski Kompania and other Polish groups performing traditional music in crudo as well as jazz and avant-garde musicians like Ksawery Wójciński, Assaf Talmudi, Shay Tsabari, Rafael Rogiński, Ilia Saytanov.
Vocal and bass duet is a rare combination. It is very courageous and brave to come up with a concert material based on such a small band. These two musicians succeeded thanks to their maturity, disciplined minimalism, and unbelievable precision. I mean not only the professional aspect but also the stylistic references, the particular aesthetics they create, deep knowledge of the sources, awareness of the contexts they refer to, of the connections they convey. –OLO WALICKI, MUSICIAN
Wojciech Jachna, one of the busiest trumpet players of the Polish scene, has brought to life another project: Wojciech Jachna Squad, which has just debuted with the album Elements. Where did the idea for the next band come from? “In the new project, I am responsible for its activity and make all key decisions. I am also a composer, which does not mean that I do not use the talents of my colleagues, they are huge,” says Wojciech Jachna.
The new line-up is a continuation of the Jachna / Cichocki / Urowski / Krawczyk quartet, which released the album The Right Moment in 2015. The group of musicians was complemented by guitarist Marek Malinowski. The personal configuration in Elements impresses with its harmoniousness, creative spirit and original solutions. Contrary to appearances, the trumpet does not dominate the album. “The musicians from this line-up are great improvisers and composers. I eagerly used their songs, which in my opinion are unique – I would not have written them myself. All the material we had was, however, subjected to a rigorous selection – the album Elements, despite the clear differentiation, was supposed to be a coherent album,” adds the trumpeter.
Plurality in unity is key in this case. The Elements grows out of jazz, but classic jazz themes in many places – thanks to ingeniously used electronics and dynamic guitar parts – are clearly budding towards other styles. Maturity is also visible in preserving golden proportions between the hard regime of composed and closed forms and improvisation.
Wojciech Jachna – trumpet, flugelhorn, shaker
Marek Malinowski – guitar
Jacek Cichocki – piano and electric piano, Vermona electric piano, Moog synthesizer, fx
Paweł Urowski – double bass
Mateusz Krawczyk – drums, percussion
Jazztopad Festival has been running for the past 18 years under the umbrella of National Forum of Music (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 artists commissioned by Jazztopad are: Charles Lloyd, Wayne Shorter, Amir ElSaffar, Kenny Wheeler, Vijay Iyer, Benoit Delbecq, Terje Rypdal, Jason Moran, John Surman, William Parker, and more. The festival, artistically led by Piotr Turkiewicz, had some of its commissions released with 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.
Polish Cultural Institute New York was founded in 2000. It is a diplomatic mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, operating in the area of public diplomacy. The PCI NY is one of 25 such institutes around the world. It is also an active member of the network of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in its New York cluster. The Institute’s mission is to share Polish heritage and contemporary art with American audiences, and to promote Poland’s contributions to the success of world culture. The Institute does so through initiating, supporting and promoting collaboration between Poland and the United States in the areas of visual art, design, film, theater, dance, literature, music, and in many other aspects of intellectual and social life. The Institute’s main task is to ensure Polish participation in the programming of America’s most important cultural institutions as well as in large international initiatives.