The second night of the 47th Jazz Juniors opened with a passionate solo recital by pianist Franciszek Raczkowski, who charmed the audience with his impressionistic jazz lyricism. His performance was followed by that of Matthieu Bordenave Trio, recording for the legendary Munich-based ECM label. Specially for the Kraków festival audience, the French saxophonist’s band played pieces from their new album, to be released in January 2024.

Franciszek Raczkowski was one of the 2019 Jazz Juniors prize winners (as a member of Franciszek Pospieszalski Trio). His debut as leader (Franciszek Raczkowski Trio’s album Apprentice) was hailed by Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski himself as music with great prospects for the future. Raczkowski seems to fulfil this promise as he charms the audience with classically conceived, richly detailed forms and impressionist colours.

The programme of yesterday’s recital consisted mainly of pieces from Raczkowski’s solo album Klood, comprising a number of compositions and improvisations related to the music of Claude Debussy. The album was released in collaboration with Sztuka Łączenia Foundation and its recording – financed by an Artistic Scholarship from the City of Kraków.

‘Numerous accounts confirm that Claude Debussy loved to improvise on pianos that were out of tune. He treated this as an element of his creative process. He was inspired by the unpredictability of the tuning and the various microtones, possibly also – by the unique sound colour of some of the instruments. Unfortunately, no recordings of such improvisations survive. I have made up my mind to revive this idea by recording a number of impressions on the most interesting pianos I have had the chance to play. This is how Klood came into being – as a homage to one of my greatest musical authorities, an artist who has been a major inspiration to me,’ says Franciszek Raczkowski about his project.

‘Classical music, jazz, modern jazz… all this gets fused on Klood in a totally non-linear manner. The album shows Franciszek Raczkowski as an unconventional artist that cannot be pigeonholed, which only adds to the value and character of this figure,’ wrote Przemo Urbaniak of about Raczkowski’s new album. We had the chance to confirm the truth of these words at his Jazz Juniors recital, which carried the audience away into a completely new dimension.

The second part of the evening belonged to Matthieu Bordenave Trio, consisting of: Matthieu Bordenave – tenor saxophone, Florian Weber – piano, and Patrice Moret – bass. The trio brings together, in a masterful fashion, the languages of post-jazz avant-garde and 20th-century classical music. The artists’ restrained and at the same time tenacious sound mosaics contain echoes of both Paul Bley and Olivier Messiaen. This, combined with deep rapport and faultless communication between the Trio’s members, results in the ensemble’s rich type of expression.

The trio, signed up to the prestigious ECM label, gave premiere performances of selected pieces from their new album, whose release has been scheduled for January 2024. They also performed two compositions by John Coltrane, including To Be from his last album, titled Expression, dedicated by Bordenave to all musicians as a message that they should always remain true to themselves in their works.

Matthieu Bordenave, French saxophonist and clarinettist now based in Munich, has performed with some of the greatest musicians, including Lee Konitz, Rudi Mahall, Yaron Herman, Henning Sieverts, Florian Weber, Shinya Fukumori, Peter O’Mara, and Geoff Goodman. Enja Records brought out two of his albums, recorded with the trio Le Café Bleu International and the Terre de Sienne quartet. Bordenave also appears with US guitarist Geoff Goodman on Doublemoon Records album Inverted Forest. His debut recording for the legendary ECM Records (with Shinya Fukumori Trio, 2018) was followed in 2020 by Bordenave’s own project, La Traversée (with Florian Weber – piano and Patrice Moret – bass).

The last piece in the programme of Jazz Juniors second night concert was Bordenave’s own composition Three Peaks, performed with Weber and Moret. The piece was inspired by a mountain route near Matthieu’s hometown at the foot of the Pyrenees, dominated by three three-thousanders, whose summits combine absolute silence with breathtaking views. It is this special atmosphere that the musician made up his mind to reflect in his wonderfully calm, nearly meditative composition.