Ziółek Quartet has won the Grand Prix of Jazz Juniors 2020, announced the jury consisting of Adam Pierończyk, Dominik Wania, and Sławomir Kurkiewicz. The 2nd prize went to Kuba Banaszek Quartet, the 3rd – to Semiotic Quintet. 

The six bands admitted to the finals of this year’s Jazz Juniors performed on 1st October in Cricoteka. They were assessed not only by the competition jury, but also by the International Partners’ Council, whose members listened to the finalists online this year. Adam Pierończyk, chair of the jury, as well as the other two jurors, Dominik Wania and Sławomir Kurkiewicz, stress that the level was extremely high this year again, and so it was minimal differences and details that decided about the choice of winners.

The jury’s final verdict is as follows:

The 1st prize – Grand Prix (PLN 10,000) of the 43rd Jazz Juniors goes to Ziółek Kwartet, whose members are: Grzegorz Ziółek (piano), Marcin Elszkowski (trumpet), Piotr Narajowski (bass), and Miłosz Berdzik (drums). At the auditions, they played their leader’s two original compositions. Ziółek graduated from Cracow’s Academy of Music last year. 

The 2nd prize (PLN 6,000) was awarded to Kuba Banaszek Quartet, consisting of: Kuba Banaszek (piano), Marcin Konieczkowicz (sax), Tymon Trąbczyński (bass), and Maksymilian Olszewski (drums). During the auditions they played their leader’s works, as well as a piece by Cole Porter. The leader is likewise a Cracow Academy of Music graduate. 

The 3rd prize (PLN 4,000) was taken by Semiotic Quintet: Paweł Mańka (leader, guitar), Robert Wypasek (sax), Franciszek Raczkowski (piano), Mateusz Szewczyk (bass), and Stefan Raczkowski (drums). They performed their leader’s compositions, which form the core of the band’s repertoire.

As the jurors emphasize, the level was so high that prizes and places are in fact of minor importance. What is most important is that the young musicians have done their job, followed their intuition, and boldly presented their original music.

Apart from the three main prizes, special awards have been granted as every year; eventually each of the finalists received an award. The International Partners’ Council which follows our competition has invited selected bands to take part in festivals – already for the 5th time in Jazz Juniors history:

  • Josh Grossman (Toronto Downtown Jazz) and Enrico Moccia (Fara Music Festival) invited Krzysztof Baranowski Trio to their festivals, while Wojciech Siwek qualified the same trio for the finals of the Jazz on the Odra festival’s competition. 
  • Ivan Blagojević (Nišville Jazz Festival) invited JAH Trio to play a concert. The same band was invited for a tour of Asia organized by Jakub Krzeszowski (Jazz Po Polsku).
  • Ratko Zjaca (Jazz Festival Croatia), Yaroslav Sartakov (UralTerraJazz), and Wojciech Siwek (Jazz on the Odra) invited Roland Abreu’s The Cuban Latin Jazz band to their festivals.
  • Tamas Bognar (Opus Jazz Club) invited Semiotic Quintet for a concert held in his venue.

SAWP Polish Association of Performing Artists of Music and Music with Lyrics has awarded its annual prize as in the previous years. SAWP’s Piotr Iwicki presented this award, amounting to EUR 1,000, to Grzegorz Ziółek Quartet.

The ‘Golden Double Bass’ (special award of the Andrzej Cudzich Foundation of PLN 1,000) has also been traditionally granted. It goes to the bassist who has distinguished himself at this year’s competition, Piotr Narajowski.

Two panel discussions were held at the end of Jazz Juniors day one. The first conversation was conducted by Ian Patterson of All About Jazz website with the outstanding jurors-musicians Adam Pierończyk, Dominik Wania, and Sławomir Kurkiewicz. This meeting ended with a Q&A session during with the young participants could ask the jurors questions.

The first day of the competition being now over, we’re inaugurating the concert program, to which a live audience has been admitted. At 19.30 Adam Pierończyk, our artist-in-residence, has invited Dominik Wania, Sławomir Kurkiewicz, and Dawid Fortuna to play with him on the stage. The musicians will be accompanied by DJ Eprom.

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