The jury (Adam Pierończyk, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Majid Bekkas) awarded the Grand Prix of Jazz Juniors 2021 to Nagy Emma Quintet (Hungary), and the second prize jointly to Superminimalism (Poland) and the sextet Federico Calcagno & The Dolphians (Italy). The third prize went to Unleashed Cooperation (Poland).

The six line-ups that have made it into the finals of this year’s Jazz Juniors Competition presented their skills on 6th October at Cracow’s Nowa Huta Cultural Centre. They were assessed, apart from the Competition jury, also by the Council of International Partners. Adam Pierończyk, chair of the jury, sums up the standards of this year’s edition as again very high.

‘This year the Competition has been much more international than the year before, since the pandemic has eased up a bit,’ says Adam Pierończyk. ‘We’ve heard much attractive and highly inspiring music, which, apart from virtuosity (which is the basis), also carried a message, was original and creative…’

The jury’s final decision is as follows:

The 1st prize (Grand Prix, 10,000 PLN) of the 45th Jazz Juniors goes to Nagy Emma Quintet (Hungary), consisting of: Emma Nagy (vocals), Pèter Cseh (guitar), Christian Olah (piano), Àbel Dènes (bass), and Àdam Klausz (drums).

The 2nd prize (5,000 PLN each) has been presented jointly to:

– the Polish band Superminimalism, which played in the following line-up: Marcin Elszkowski (trumpet), Jakub Łępa (saxophone), Robert Wypasek (saxophone), Michał Aftyka (bass), and Stefan Raczkowski (drums).

and to the Italian sextet Federico Calcagno & The Dolphians, comprising: Federico Calcagno (bass/soprano clarinet, original music and arrangements), Gianluca Zanello (alto saxophone), Luca Ceribelli (tenor/soprano saxophone), Andrea Mellace (vibraphone), Stefano Zambon (bass), and Stefano Grasso (drums).

The 3rd prize (3,000 PLN) has been awarded to the Polish band Unleashed Cooperation, consisting of: Krzysztof Kuśmierek (soprano saxophone), Patryk Rynkiewicz (trumpet), Patryk Matwiejczuk (piano), Flavio Gullotta (bass), and Stanisław Aleksandrowicz (drums).

Apart from these three main prizes, special awards have been presented, as in the previous years, which means that all of the finalists have eventually been awarded. The Council of International Partners, which has followed the auditions already for the 5th time, has invited selected bands to play at festivals and give concerts:

Enrico Moccia of the Fara Music Festival (Italy) has invited the Grand Prix-winning Nagy Emma Quintet. Csenge Hamod of Opus Jazz Club (Hungary) and Wojciech Siwek of Jazz-on-the-Odra festival in Wrocław have invited Superminimalism. Andrej Blagojević of Nišville Jazz Festival (Serbia) and Jakub Krzeszowski representing ‘Jazz po polsku’ (Asia) have invited the Polish line-up Unleashed Cooperation to take part in their festivals, while Michał Hajduk of Katowice’s NOSPR asked Federico Calcagno & The Dolphians to play a concert in that venue.

Iaroslav Sartakov of Ural Terra Jazz (Russia) and Tomasso Caggiani of NiCa Jazz Festival (Spain) have invited the UK band Twospeak, whereas Ratko Zjaca of More & Jazz Festival (Croatia) offered a concert to the Polish Ziemia.

The Janusz Muniak Award (5,000 PLN), already traditionally presented at Jazz Juniors, went to Natalia Kordiak, while Jakub Wosik of Ziemia took the ‘Golden Double Bass’ Special Award of the Andrzej Cudzich Foundation (1,000 PLN) for an outstanding double-bass player.

The Grand Prix was endowed by the City of Cracow; the 2nd prizes – by the Union of Performing Artists STOART and the Managing Board of TVP S.A; the 3rd prize and the Janusz Muniak Award – by Trzech Kumpli Brewers.

The Competition was held on the first day of Jazz Juniors 2021. The concerts start on 7th October. On this day we invite you at 7 pm to Cracow’s Cricoteka for a performance by the festival’s artist-in-residence Adam Pierończyk, Majid Bekkas, and Jean-Paul Bourelly, followed in the second part by Nils Wogram of Root 70. At 10 pm at the Mile Stone Jazz Club, specially reactivated for this purpose, we present the Jazz Juniors Showcase. The bands, which will perform in front of several dozen music industry representatives from many European countries, are: Kuba Banaszek Quartet, Marta Wajdzik Experiment, and Chyła-Mizeracki-Chraniuk-Olszewski.