From September to November, five Polish jazz bands of the younger generation will tour China as part of the Jazz Po Polsku project. Performances in China feature: Monika Borzym Quintet accompanied by Fusion String Quartet, Tomasz Chyła Quintet, EABS, High Definition Quartet and Rafał Sarnecki Quintet.
The concerts will be a part of the world celebrations of the centenary of Poland regaining independence. The artists will present their own repertoire as well as compositions inspired by the works of Adam Mickiewicz, Krzysztof Komeda and Bronisław Kaper. Leading members of the young Polish jazz scene will perform, among others, in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Harbin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The grand finale of the tour will be a special concert organised on the sail training ship Dar Młodzieży (‘Gift of the Youth’), which will arrive in Shanghai during her cruise around the world. The concerts will take place as part of the Jazz Po Polsku project promoting independent Polish improvised music abroad. The tournée will last from 15th September to 4th November.
The aim of Jazz Po Polsku is to promote Polish improvised music abroad, as a genre in itself with many years of tradition and history. The project also helps in establishing international cultural cooperation and integrates the artists communities from many countries – says Jakub Krzeszowski, creator of Jazz Po Polsku.
The Jazz Po Polsku tour will begin with Rafał Sarnecki Quintet’s concerts in two cities in Sichuan province: on 15th September in Chongqing and on 17th September in Chengdu. The repertoire Sarnecki will present this time to the Chinese audience are original compositions from his latest album Climbing Trees as well as Polish jazz standards, including pieces inspired by the works of Bronisław Kaper and Krzysztof Komeda. Later, the group consisting of Polish and Chinese musicians will perform in Xi'an, Beijing, Zhengzhou and Taizhou. The last concert will take place on 30th September in Harbin, a city once inhabited by a large Polish community whose ancestors helped build it.
Then, on 13th October, Tomasz Chyła Quintet will perform at the Nine Gates International Festival in Beijing, promoting their latest album Circlesongs. The winners of the 40. Jazz Juniors Grand Prix will perform also in Changchun, Harbin and Xi'an.
Another band to perform in China is High Definition Quartet, who will start their tour in Sichuan province, where they play from 13th to 19th October. The award-winning Kraków group will present a special programme Forefathers' Eve, inspired by the outstanding work of one of the greatest Polish authors of the Romantic era, Adam Mickiewicz. The musicians interpret the old Slavic rite of communing with the souls of the dead. They will finish their tour at the 3rd Jazz Festival in Changchun, Jilin province.
The Chinese audience have already had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Adam Mickiewicz's Forefathers' Eve – it was the first (written) foreign work, the fragments of which were translated to Chinese after the end of the Cultural Revolution. In 2015, the Beijing audience for the first time had the opportunity to watch the theatrical version of Forefathers' Eve, performed by the artists of the Polski Theatre in Wrocław. At the same time, the reprint of the Chinese translation of the entire Mickiewicz's drama appeared in bookshops.
The Wrocław collective Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions (EABS) will perform in China with a repertoire devoted to the works of Krzysztof Komeda. Their debut album Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda) contains an analysis of the artist's works dated 1962-1967. The musicians worked on themes from the films Niekochana (editor’s translation: Unloved), Barrier, Perły i Dukaty (Pearls and Ducats) and Pingwin (Penguin), which are unanimously perceived as Polish cinema classics. The band will play from 16th to 20th October in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen.
The tour will conclude with concerts of Monika Borzym's quintet accompanied by the Fusion Strings Quartet (Beethoven Academy Orchestra musicians), with the moving lyrics of the Warsaw Uprising poet, Anna Świrszczyńska. Jestem Przestrzeń (I am Space) repertoire recorded with John Scofield, Chris Potter and Randy Brecker received platinum record status in Poland. The group will perform from 26th of October to 4th November in Beijing, Harbin, Nanjing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.
Jazz Po Polsku first came to Asia in 2014, when the Warsaw based Imagination Quartet band performed in three Chinese cities. The number of bands and concerts grew from year to year. Since then, as part of the project, Polish artists have presented their performances over two hundred times in seven Asian countries. In 2018, the bands of Grzegorz Karnas and Stanisław Słowiński appeared on the Asian continent, and Rafał Sarnecki led the workshops as part of the CEEC Summer Jazz Camp.
The concerts are organised by the Plateaux Foundation as part of the Jazz Po Polsku – Live in China 2018. The project was financed from the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, within the scope of the Multiannual Programme INDEPENDENT 2017-2021, as part of the Cultural Bridges subsidy programme of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. The performances are organised in cooperation with the Chinese Jazz Association (CJA) and supported by the Polish Institute – Culture Department of the Polish Embassy in Beijing, Consulates General of the Republic in Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
More information about Jazz Po Polsku:
Rafał Sarnecki – guitar, Gao Taihang – alto saxophone, Michał Ciesielski – piano, Zhang Ke / Wang Chen Huai – double bass, Anthony Vanacore / Xu Zitong – drums
Tomasz Chyła – violin, Piotr Chęcki – saxophone, Szymon Burnos – piano, Konrad Żołnierek – bass guitar, Sławek Koryzno – drums
Piotr Orzechowski – piano, Mateusz Śliwa – tenor saxophone, Alan Wykpisz – double bass, Grzegorz Pałka – drums
Marek Pędziwiatr – keyboards, synthesizers, vocals, Marcin Rak – drums, Vojto Monteur – electric guitar, Paweł Stachowiak – bass guitar, Spisek Jednego – turntables, Olaf Węgier – saxophone, Jakub Kurek – trumpet
Monika Borzym – vocal, Joanna Duda – piano, electronics, Maksymilian Mucha – bass, Krzysztof Kawałko – guitar, Patryk Dobosz – drums, feat. Paweł Futyma – I violin, Anna Górecka – II violin, Paweł Rychlik – viola, Michał Świstak – cello
Source: Jazz Po Polsku / promotional materials