Friday, August 24, 2012

Kraków Jazz Autumn

The seventh annual edition of Krakow Jazz Autumn – a festival which over these years has become one of the most important events on the Polish improvised music map as well as one of the key festivals in Europe – is now a fact.

As is the case every year, the guests invited to participate are the most important figures in this musical discipline. Both artists lauded throughout the decades as legends and also artists who are yet to reach their apogee on the musical map. So the opportunity will arise for a close encounter with the great Peter Brötzmann, who will be giving an account of himself during the festival in three completely different incarnations, in the ensembles Defibrillator and Damage Is Done, co-created with free jazz legend Joe McPhee, and in a joint project featuring musicians from Turkey. Another event particularly worthy of note is the Barry Guy concerts. Polish music lovers are fully aware of what Barry Guy is capable of. A great improviser, double bass virtuoso and extremely highly rated interpreter of early music in such ensembles as those of Christopher Hogwood. This is not thefirst time after all that he will be standing on a Krakow stage. Two years ago, he came over with small groups and chamber ensembles, including the splendid Fernandez/Guy/Lopez trio and a duo with his violinist wife Maya Homburger. Now, over four days we’ll be able to witness the artistic activities of his principal group, the New Orchestra, which is another creative and completely dazzling development of the already legendary London Jazz Composers Orchestra.

Peter Brötzmann and Barry Guy represent the European scene. But there will also be legends from over the pond. At one concert, the famous DKV Trio, i.e. an ensemble created by Ken Vandermark, Kent Kessler and Hamid Drake, will be appearing on the stage of the Alchemia club. Over the last few years, it has not been easy to hear this group live, not only in Poland but also in Europe as a whole. All three gentlemen are engaged in their own projects and have only appeared sporadically as the DKV Trio. For five years, they have not released a single album, even though their concerts over this period have been meticulously recorded and archived. The ensemble’s Krakow concert coincides with the international premiere of a multi-disc release documenting these actual five years of concert activity, which will be released by the inestimable Kraków-based publishing label, Not Two Records.

Also on this year’s KJA festival stage, we will be able to hear one of the co-creators of the European improvised music scene, the British Trevor Watts. Yet another legend will be performing in the New Orchestra – grand magician of the saxophone, Evan Parker, who is also British – and he will be joined by representatives of the Polish scene, including Mikołaj Trzaska, who requires no recommendation, the young group, Mikrokolektyw, who are releasing on the famous Chicagoan label Delmark Records and up and coming star of improvised music, Wracław Zimpel, with his Hera group and special guest  Hamid Drake.

Krakow Jazz Autumn 2012 first and foremost stands for exquisite concerts by big stars. But not only! There will also be film screenings of films on jazz-connected themes and improvised music which you would struggle to find even on the programmes of the Polish documentary film festivals, a vernissage featuring the photos of Ziga Koritnik and a conference, Contemporary Music Agenda 2012, which will be devoted to jazz and improvised music from around the world, and will involve eminent journalists from All About Jazz, Down Beat and The Wire, as well as the organisers of the famous festivals Nickelsdorf Kontrontationen, Music Unlimited in Wels and Musik Kultur St. Johann.

So Krakow Jazz Autumn 2012 is a festival of music, the spoken word and image at the service of the grand and by no means limited art of improvisation!

Detailed program of the festival:

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