Canada, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Croatia – these countries and their leading jazz festivals will be visited by Jazz Juniors winners this summer. This is part of the pool of prizes that young musicians have won during the Cracow competition.

Founded in 1976, the International Contest of Young Jazz Ensembles Jazz Juniors has always been strongly entwined with the history of Polish jazz, since it is at the Jazz Juniors where the most famous Polish artists – such as Leszek Możdżer, Krzysztof Ścierański, Zbigniew Wegehaupt, Marek Bałata, Niedziela and Pospieszalski brothers, and New Presentation, Walk Away and Miłość bands – made their first steps. This was years ago, yet Jazz Juniors still belongs to the spearhead of jazz events, whose winners make their presence ever more visible on international music stages. Enough tomention that this is the competition that recently allowed the discovery of such personalities and bands as High Definition, N.S.I., Levity, Bartosz Dworak, Piotr Orzechowski “Pianohooligan” and Tomasz Chyła Quintet.
Since 2012 Jazz Juniors has efficiently developed its operation focused around the idea of international exchange, focused on the promotion of competition winners. Thanks to the recommendations and involvement of members of the international jury, Jazz Juniors winners receive an opportunity to go on international tours, shine brightly on the dazzling stages of great festivals all around the world, and set up cooperation with prestigious labels and artistic agencies that offer a perfect start and international promotion to young musicians.

Last year’s Jazz Juniors Competition ended with a verdict that brought the main laurels to two bands. The Grand Prix ex aequo went to the Cuban Trio Ílú and the Polish quartet Ziemia.
The second and third prizes went to the Jopek/ Klemensiewicz duo and the Tantfreaky band, respectively. As every year, the competition performances were followed by the International Board of Partners of the Jazz Juniors, which includes representatives of renowned festivals and concert halls in Europe and the world. And it was they who gifted the contestants with invitations to perform at prestigious festivals in Canada, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia. For young, debuting bands, this is a great honor, all the more so because at the foreign festivals to which they have been invited they will perform alongside world stars, including Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau and Snarky Puppy.

The Canadian installment of these “special awards” will take place on July 1 and 2 at the renowned Toronto Jazz Festival. Thanks to the invitation of Josh Grossman, artistic director of the Festival, the Krzysztof Baranowski Trio will perform during two concerts in Toronto.
– Josh Grossman has served on the International Board of Partners of the Jazz Juniors Competition for eight years and regularly participates in the competition auditions in Cracow. From the dozens of young Polish jazz bands he has listened to so far, he has chosen the three that most closely match the program lineup of his festival, and these are: the Jakub Paulski Trio, Superminimalism, and the Krzysztof Baranowski Trio. These bands will perform at the festival in Canada over the next three years. The realization of this event is the first such strong representation of young Polish jazz in Canada. And that is why, together with our Canadian partner, we decided to give this event a special name: “Polish Jazz at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival” – emphasizes Tomasz Handzlik, general director of the Jazz Juniors Festival and Competition.