In October Kraków (Cracow) becomes the world’s jazz capital as two prestigious jazz events, Seifert Jazz Days and Jazz Juniors, join forces for the first time to present the 1st Krakow Jazz Week. Between 9th and 15th October, the beautiful interiors of our venue, the Cricoteka Club, will host top international jazz artists and the best musicians of the young generation, for whom this can prove to be the best launch of their careers.

The Jazz Juniors Festival and Competition have shaped the jazz scene for 47 years. Seifert Jazz Days, established in 2014, revives worldwide interest in the work and person of legendary Cracow-based jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert. Both these events feature not only performances by renowned jazz musicians but also concerts by, and international promotion of, the most gifted performers of improvised music. This year, the two events join forces for the first time for a great jazz feast titled Krakow Jazz Week.

Seifert Jazz Days commemorates one of the most important figures in Polish jazz, violinist Zbigniew Seifert (1946-1979). A contest of his name, held biennially in Poland (Seifert Competition), is addressed to young violinists, violists, and cellists from all over the world performing jazz and improvised music. Seifert Jazz Days, first organised in 2021, takes its patron’s legacy beyond the professional violin-playing circles to the wide audience interested in jazz, improvised music, and related genres. By inviting musicians from many countries, Seifert Jazz Days festival creates a context for cultivating the memory of the Cracow violinist also outside Poland.

This year’s Krakow Jazz Week opens with Seifert Jazz Days festival’s three-night programme presenting bands which, though very different, share an out-of-the-box approach to music. They are Seifert Competition prize-winners, now scoring successes all over the world, as well as world-famous artists.

9th October brings a concert by leading European saxophonist Maciej Obara and his international Maciej Obara Quartet. Specially for our festival, Obara has prepared a programme centred around the output of Zbigniew Seifert. The concert’s main idea is to present all the contexts in which the legendary composer-violinist lived and worked.

On 10th October, the second night of Seifert Jazz Days belongs to Mateusz Smoczyński / Markus Stockhausen International Group (which also includes such musicians as pianist Kristjan Randalu, bassist Chris Jennings, and drummer Bodek Janke). The band was founded by two outstanding musicians, Polish violinist Mateusz Smoczyński (1st prize winner in the 2nd Seifert Competition) and German trumpeter Markus Stockhausen, known for his love of balanced spatial improvisation suspended between jazz and modern chamber music.

On 11th October, the final night of the 2nd Seifert Jazz Days, the stage will be taken over by Sonorismo trio, set up by RGG-trio’s drummer Krzysztof Gradziuk, who invited RGG’s pianist Łukasz Ojdana and Finnish saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen to play in his new band.

This year’s Jazz Juniors will again provide a space for the meeting and confrontation of various trends and ways of thinking about music. Polish and international artists will not only present their original compositions but also draw inspiration from the other Jazz Juniors performers. Since 1976, the Jazz Juniors Festival and Competition have been not only a major jazz feast in the map of Polish musical life but also a meeting place for different generations, where internationally recognised artists meet young musicians at the very start of their careers. To the latter, the Jazz Juniors Competition offers the chance of attracting the attention of our international guests and recording a professional album. Artists who made their first steps towards success on the Jazz Juniors stage include such famous names as Leszek Możdżer, Krzysztof Ścierański, Zbigniew Wegehaupt, Marek Bałata, the Niedziela and Pospieszalski brothers, as well as bands: New Presentation, Walk Away, and the cult-status group Miłość.

12th October will be dedicated to the auditions of this year’s Jazz Juniors Competition, assessed by an international jury (Florian Arbenz, Nelson Veras, Maikel Vistel, Jorge Vistel), headed by Adam Pierończyk. On the other three days we will hear artists selected for their unique qualities by Pierończyk, who has been the Jazz Juniors artistic director in the last few years.

On 13th October, our festival programme will be inaugurated with a concert of last year’s Jazz Juniors Grand Prix winners, the Katowice-based quartet Ziemia. The second concert of the evening features Arbenz X Veras / Vistels ‘Conversation’ band, whose leader, Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz, is well known, among others, for his performances in VEIN trio as well as collaborations with Greg Osby and Dave Liebman. The line-up of the band we will hear in Cracow comprises his long-time collaborators: Brazilian guitar virtuoso Nelson Veras and the Cuban-born Vistel brothers (trumpeter Jorge and sax player Maikel).

On 14th October, our first event is a solo recital by pianist Franciszek Raczkowski, a 2019 Jazz Juniors finalist (as member of Franciszek Pospieszalski trio). The second guest of the evening, Matthieu Bordenave Trio, led by a French saxophonist who records for the famous ECM label, combines in a truly masterful fashion the languages of post-jazz avant-garde and 20th-century classical music.

On 15th October our programme will be opened by Robert Wypasek Quartet. Wypasek, one of the most promising sax players of the young generation, has for several years attracted the attention of audiences and juries at nearly all competitions and events, including our festival. The 47th Jazz Juniors will come to its close with a performance by Lage Lund Quartet, whose Norwegian-born leader developed his skills at two of the most prestigious US music schools, Boston’s Berklee College of Music and (as history’s first guitarist) – at New York’s Juilliard School of Music.

Event organisers:
Film and Jazz Music Foundation
The Zbigniew Seifert Foundation

CRICOTEKA Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor
The National Centre for Culture Poland
The project has been co-financed from the funds of the Municipality of Cracow and by STOART Polish Association of Performing Artists.
Seifert Jazz Days festival has been co-financed the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, from the Culture Promotion Fund – a specific-purpose state fund, as part of the ‘Muzyka’ programme implemented by the National Institute of Music and Dance. Seifert Jazz Days has been co-financed by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation.