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The Warsaw Voice » Destination Warsaw » June 30, 2011
Destination Warsaw
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Warsaw Jazzed Up
June 30, 2011   
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Warsaw has a rich history of jazz. For years, every summer the Polish capital has been hosting a jazz extravaganza with festivals and concerts at nearly every corner. It can be said that jazz in Poland has its beginnings in the 1920s, when swing jazz and music influenced by George Gershwin was played in clubs and restaurants in major Polish cities. Eddie Rosner is thought to be one of the first Polish jazz musicians of significance at the time.

In the decades under communist rule after World War II, Polish jazz was influenced by so-called cool jazz, and later three strands of jazz emerged—trad jazz, mainstream and free jazz.

Among all the stylistic trends that have influenced Polish jazz in the past and today, the most original and truly Polish is the “Chopin stream,” with jazz interpretations of Frederic Chopin’s music improvised by such legends as Andrzej Jagodziński, Leszek Możdżer and Włodzimierz Nahorny.

The Warsaw Jazz Jamboree Festival is one of Europe’s largest and oldest jazz festivals. It has been held since 1958. Over the years, the festival has hosted almost all of the world’s jazz greats, from Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald to Miles Davis and Stan Getz. Poland also has world-renowned jazz musicians, including pioneers Krzysztof Komeda (1931-1969), composer, pianist and trumpet player Andrzej Kurylewicz, composer and trumpeter Tomasz Stańko (pictured), who has won numerous European awards, and saxophonist Zbigniew Namysłowski, who was the first Polish jazz musician to record abroad in 1967.

This summer there is enormous choice: whatever type of jazz you like, you can enjoy it all in Warsaw. There is the famous Warsaw Jazz Jamboree Festival at the Kongresowa Hall at the Palace of Culture, the 17th International Open Air Jazz Festival in the Old Town Square, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days at the Kongresowa Hall, and concerts by artists from the United States, Israel and Britain among others.

Local and international jazz artists will perform at the Kongresowa Hall, Sowiński Park Amphitheater, Tygmont, Hybrydy, Stodoła Club, Palladium Club, Hoovera Square and many open-air and other venues throughout Warsaw.

Meanwhile, jazz is not the only type of music to be enjoyed in Warsaw this summer. Some of the biggest international and local classical and popular music artists will also be performing here. Check out www.multifest.pl for dates and venues.

Jolanta Wolska
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