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International Jazz Workshops
July 4, 2014   
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The annual International Jazz Workshops in Puławy, south of Warsaw, start July 10, bringing together amateur musicians and renowned jazz players and teachers from around the world.

The workshops are open to all. They bring together people with different levels of skills and hailing from different walks of life and different regions.

The Jazz Workshops are now in their 44th year. Held for the first time in the town Chodzież, the workshops were an initiative by the Polish Jazz Association, the organizer of the famous Jazz Jamboree festival, the largest jazz festival in Eastern Europe at the time. The workshops were relocated to Puławy in 1990 and have since been held at the Dom Chemika culture center. Over the years, the event has become something of an institution.

The workshops and accompanying events are popular with both younger older audiences who are keen to listen to good music right where it is born, at daily jam sessions.

Aside from group and individual activities, the event has its own Big Band made up of workshop participants.

Some of the most popular lectures during the workshops are those on the history and theory of jazz styles. They take place early in the morning, but the turnout is high despite the fact that jam sessions sometimes last until three o’clock the previous morning.

Respected jazz musicians come to Puławy from across the globe. Workshops in the theory of improvisation are conducted by Janusz Szprot, the founder and long-time head of the Chair of Jazz at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.

The history of jazz is taught by Prof. Jacek Niedziela-Meira, who works with the Music Academy in Katowice. Classes in playing instruments are offered to individuals and groups and teach the basics of instrumental techniques, jazz composition, jazz styles, solo transcription and music arrangement.

Dave Allen of the New York Jazz Academy will, in turn, teach a class for young guitarists. A trumpet class will be conducted by Piotr Schmidt from the Wrocław School of Jazz and Popular Music. Aspiring trombone players will learn from Dante Luciani from Miami University in the United States who, as in previous years, will also conduct the workshops’ Big Band. This year, he will be using scores by top American arrangers.

Saxophone and flute classes will be conducted by Peter Brewer from Miami. Finally, Cezary Konrad and Paweł Dobrowolski will conduct a drums class.

Every year, the highest turnout during the workshops in Puławy is for the vocal classes. These include classes for individuals and groups. Students learn voice projection techniques and various singing styles, including scat singing.

Krzysztof Sadowski, the president of the Polish Jazz Association and the man responsible for the organization of the Puławy workshops, says that prominent American jazz vocalist Kevin Mahogany will join this year’s instructors. Other instructors include Sibel Kose from Istanbul’s Vocal Jazz Studio and Marek Stawiński, who will teach a class in the VocalSecretsMind (VSM) singing technique.

Beata Leska
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