There are some very tight cultural connections between Poland and Israel with people of both nations living alongside each other for a long time. What many Israelis like about Poland is its outstanding musical legacy with incredible musicians contributing to the collective musical legacy and culture of the world. Without any dispute, the crown of the most famous composer produced by this nation is Frederic Chopin, but there are many more classic composers like Wincenty and Jacek Rozycki.
The history of the Polish Jazz festival
The first event was held in August/September of 2020 with appearances of Marcin Wasilewski Trio, O.N.E. Quintet (all female), and the Kuba Wiecek Trio. Musicians performed mostly contemporary Polish Jazz music and some classic pieces with the event being available for live viewing and via online broadcasts.
The festival caught the attention of nationwide mass media and was a hot topic of discussion with many experts praising performances and hoping that the event would be an annual thing and not a single get-together hosted on Israeli soil. Despite the raging pandemic and many logistical difficulties, the event was a huge success and a new stage for Polish musicians.
The warm welcome of jazzmen and jazzwomen from Poland encouraged organizers to create an even bigger event in 2021 with the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute participating in the organizational effort and the Israel Jazz Society helping with other logistical challenges. During the second festival, most of the events were hosted by Tel Aviv’s Terminal 4, a music club famous among thousands of jazz enthusiasts in the capital of Israel.
Additional embellishments like a movie cinema experience accompanied by Jazz music and meetups with famous artists were a part of the expanded cultural program. The second festival was also less affected by anti-COVID measures presenting a chance to see live performances to those who wanted to see the Polish talent in person.
The third festival
This time, the event is hosted in the Gray Club and will feature outstanding performers like the pianist Marcin Wasilewski who will be coming to the country for the third consecutive time, Marta Wajdzik, an aspiring saxophonist, and other famous musicians. While the point of the event is to show the width and diversity of the Polish jazz scene, there are many ways in which the festival will incorporate local musicians into its program.
Talented performers like Uriel Herman whose piano playing skills have been commended on the international scene and a talented saxophonist Amit Freedman will expand the cultural borders of the festival.
Visitors of the event will see the musical combo of Wajdzik’s saxophone and a new wave of jazzists focusing on contemporary music-making like Pawel Tomaszewski using synthesizers and preprogramming or drummer Pawel Dobrowolski who brings innovative techniques to creating unconventional rhythms. The final component of this quartet is Robert Kubiszyn, an accomplished bassist and a great jazz composer.
The festival carries true importance for the country
When interviewed by journalists, Marta Wajdzik said that she knows many Israeli artists including Gilad Hekselman, Ziv Ravitz, Shai Maestro, and many others. She pointed out that the nation has a thriving scene in which a lot of new musicians can flourish and reach amazing artistic heights.
This time, the festival is shorter and less ambitious compared to previous events. There are many reasons for the shrinkage of the festival. We live during a complicated period in history with a lot of things going on at once. The geopolitical instability, the global economic recession, and the seemingly endless culture war makes it hard to come together for celebrations of our legacy and artistry.
Navigating the sophisticated landscape of global politics is quite a challenge that is often reflected onto the people. To soothe the anxiety and embrace optimism, we need to listen to hopeful music created by talented musicians. This festival comes at the right time for all of us!