This Friday evening marks the launch of the 20th Jazztopad Festival in Wrocław, a significant milestone for one of the country's most renowned jazz music festivals.
The event will commence with a special tribute concert honoring the late Wayne Shorter, a legendary jazz saxophonist and composer who passed away earlier this year.
The festival's opening night, originally planned as a celebration of Shorter's 90th birthday, will instead pay homage to his multifaceted musical legacy.
Artistic Director Piotr Turkiewicz emphasized Shorter's lesser-known contributions to symphonic music, alongside his universally acclaimed saxophone chops.
The tribute will feature performances by musicians who closely collaborated with Shorter, such as bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez, New York bassist John Patitucci, drummer and composer Terri Lyne Carrington, and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, the son of John and Alice Coltrane.
This concert is set to take place in the Main Hall of the National Forum of Music, a major venue for cultural events.
Spanning 10 days, Jazztopad 2023 will host a series of concerts showcasing a mix of Polish and international jazz talent.
Among the featured artists is Australian trumpeter Peter Knight, the artistic director of the Australian Art Orchestra, renowned for exploring one of the oldest Aboriginal music traditions with the Wilfred brothers.
Adding to the festival's global appeal, the Canadian-Swedish project Like the Mind will grace the stage, led by violinist Meredith Bates, with the notable Canadian cellist Peggy Lee, celebrated for her improvisational prowess.
Marta Warelis, a Polish pianist now based in the Netherlands, will present a duo performance with drummer Frank Rosaly, further emphasizing the festival's international scope.
The event will culminate with a celebratory concert for Charles Lloyd's 85th birthday, a nod to the festival's longstanding tradition of honoring jazz legends.
Danish guitarist Jakob Bro will join Lloyd, fulfilling his long-cherished aspiration to perform alongside the saxophone giant.
urkiewicz reiterated the festival's dedication to themes of closeness, community, and friendship, underscoring its commitment to celebrating jazz as a unifying and diverse art form.
With a lineup that spans generations and geographies, the 20th Jazztopad Festival promises to be a rich tapestry of jazz performances, offering audiences a blend of legendary figures and emerging talents from across the jazz spectrum.
Jazztopad is a portmanteau of jazz, of course, and listopad – Polish for November.