Jazz Jantar Festival | 21.10.2012 | Nils Petter Molvaer | photo: Paweł Wyszomirski


20th Jazz Jantar Festival

In October 1957 Club Żak (at the beginning Żak – Club of Pomeranian Students) invited people from Gdańsk to its new seat, the palace at Wały Jagiellońskie Street (that still functions as Old Żak in the memory of Gdańsk’s inhabitants). Sixty-year history of the Club was interesting and turbulent, and now, in 2017, Club Żak (as a municipal cultural instistution that it became in 1991) celebrates its 60th birthday in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz. And we are organizing the 20th edition of Jazz Jantar Festival with the label of new Żak. The history of the festival is a bit more complicated than the history of the Club. There are no archives—it is difficult to complete a coherent history of the Festival based on memories of ex-members and ex-workers of Żak, or music journalists. Present team of the Club has organized the Festival since 1997, so we decided this date would be a dividing line. Throughout 20 years the Festival has developed from a two-day event into a year-long project with approximately 40 concerts and almost five thousand viewers per year. And how great these viewers are! Our frequent guests “buy” this Festival without any stars, it is always a shot in the dark. Thanks to them Jazz Jantar Festival for the last three years was in a group of three best jazz festivals chosen by the readers of “Jazz Forum”. Moreover, both readers and the editorial staff of “Jazz Forum”, in independent voting, decided that Jazz Jantar 2016 was the best festival of the year.

The winter and spring edition of the Festival is behind us, but also in autumn some Polish accents are going to be present. Above all, we are waiting for the album “Maciej Sikała Sextet. Live in Klub Żak” with the material from the concert that took place in March. The album will premiere during the Festival.

JASKUŁKE SEXTET, a band from Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot that gathers the hottest names of the “new wave” in Polish jazz will present material “Komeda Recomposed”. Bartek Chaciński writes about Danish-Polish-Norwegian group PIMPONO ENSEMBLE: “they combine technique and maturity (which they already gathered) with freshness (still kept). And also with openness and great discipline of playing.” The Festival is going to host a string quartet for the first time. ATOM STRING QUARTET will play the material from their album “Seifert”. “It is a brand itself that presents a high level in all ways: playing funky collectively, perfecting texture of lonely sounds in the spirit of classical music, displaying solo of a certain artist, etc.”—Maciej Krawiec writes about the quartet for jazzarium.pl.

Under the label Young Jazz Scene bands such as CHRYSTE PANIE and IMMORTAL ONION will perform. We could read that the first of them recorded one of the most interesting albums on the border between jazz, slow improvisation and electronics of this year, and that the other one is the winner of the sixth edition of program “Jazz album debut” organized by the Institute of Music and Dance.

Vibrating Portugese jazz scene becomes better and better. This is why we invite for concerts under the label Portugal.NOW in the block dedicated to one region of the world. Meetings of musicians who get into new bands in Lisbon and Porto have brought great effects throughout the years. This year legendary RED TRIO celebrates its 15th anniversary, and a vibraphone player Mattias Stahl and an outstanding trumpeter Axel Dörner will join them for a special concert in Gdańsk. Susana Santos Silva, one of the most interesting Portugese trumpeters, will come to the Festival with the band LIFE AND OTHER TRANSIENT STORMS. The concert of a stoner-rock trio BLACK BOMBAIM, which will meet one of the most famous saxophonists, Peter Brötzmann, on the stage, will fulfill the program. It will be as hot as in Portugal!

New faces, artists described as rising stars of jazz scene, are a distinctive mark of the Festival. This year there are AMIRTHA KIDAMBI ELDER ONES, Theo Croker, Makaya McCraven, BATTLE TRANCE and also DINOSAUR from Great Britain.

The Festival has already hosted Christian Scott (twice) and Cecile McLorin Salvant. Now it is time for Theo Croker, a young trumpeter, who will perform in Żak on November 6. “Escape Velocity” is an incredible album full of stability, strength and ambition. “Croker is an incredibly talented artist we will be listening to for a very long time”—praised Frank Alkyer from “Downbeat” magazine. British “Observer” put “Escape Velocity” on the list of best jazz albums of 2016.

Skillful playing influenced by Miles Davis and J Dilla, mantric singing in Alice Coltrane and Matana Roberts’s style, explosion of four saxophones—this is how a piece of new American scene that we will present during Jazz Jantar uder the label New America looks like. Makaya McCraven will present live the material from the album “In the Moment” which is a mosaic of several hours of improvisation from various clubs. Amirtha Kidambi with the band ELDER ONES will present a peculiar look at rag and Carnatic music combined with improvisation. BATTLE TRANCE will generate a monumental sound of four tenor saxophones that seduce listeners using their frivolity, but can also generate powerful and overwhelming sounds.

A year ago during the Festival we widely presented British jazz scene to which we are coming back also this year. DINOSAUR, thanks to their album “Together, as one” was a finalist (was on a short list) of a very prestigious Mercury Prize (together with The xx, Ed Sheeran or Blossoms; the finalist will be announced on September 14). “Imagine the impressionistic electric-jazz moodiness and glistening keyboard textures of Miles Davis’s In A Silent Way seamlessly wrapped around Celtic folk melodies, Django Batesian idiom-swaps, and interwoven with American, Scottish and north African drumming– and you might have a feel for this superb set from Laura Jurd, the young trumpeter who has made such an impact on UK jazz over four packed years”—John Fordham from “The Guardian” writes about the first album of the band.

GET THE BLESSING will be the Festival’s guest for the second time. Many people call music of this band ‘rock’. Although it is true that elements of both genres are present in this music, they are not like John McLauglin or Weather Report. In their sound there is no fusion, it is rather a combination with keeping both identities. Besides, it could not be different when among the members of the band there are musicians who played with Portishead, Peter Gabriel or Siouxie Sioux. Clive Deamer, the drummer, lately had a chance to visit Gdynia when he performed during Open’er festival with Radiohead. On our festival they will play music from their new album that they are currently working on.

Combinations with hip-hop or rap bring very interesting results. Miles Davis and Easy Mo Bee’s album “Doo-Bop” is here canonic, and also recordings of a French trumpeter from Nya Eric Truffaz still amaze. How do these kinds of cooperations look today, in 2017? During Jazz Jantar STEVE LEHMAN & SÉLÉBÉYONE and HEROES ARE GANG LEADERS, a group of 11 artists, musicians and poets will show that. The leader of this band is James Brandon Lewis, a saxophonist from New York, who on the one hand takes a lot from hip-hop of 1980s and 1990s, on the other hand is a faithful student of John Coltrane. Marek Dusza from “Rzeczpospolita” states that this is a musician who will rule festival scenes in next few years. On November 4 he will appear in Poland for the first time, during Jazz Jantar Festival, and on the next day Steve Lehman, a saxophonist well-known to our audience, and his hew band SÉLÉBÉYONE will visit our Concert Hall. Karl Ackermann wrote for “All About Jazz”: “Jazz purists, and even some more exploratory listeners, may have to open their ears a bit wider with Sélébéyone, but it will prove well worth it.” There were also positive reviews in Polish press. Łukasz Iwasiński from “Jazz Forum” gave the album the highest note, and encouraged listening to it: “Most of hip-hop/jazz fusions are really cheap. This way of expression, that was fresh over 25 years ago, soon got trivial and commercial. But, however, there were real pearls in this style, and SÉLÉBÉYONE should be described as one of them.”

Jazz Jantar Festival is not a festival of stars, but we should admit that there will be well-known names in the posters: Colin Stetson and his EX EYE, John Medeski, Miguel Zenón, Ambrose Akinmusire and Joe Lovano, who together with his JOE LOVANO CLASSIC QUARTET penetrates rich history of mainstream jazz, swing and bebop and even soulful. As an active supporter of straight-ahead jazz who cooperated with Hank Jones ten years ago, Lovano worships musical structures.

MEDESKI'S MAD SKILLET has not published an album yet, but managed to establish a position of a great concert band, which the audience of Warsaw Summer Jazz Days 2016 could find. The group will be in Gdańsk for the first time.

Mark Corroto from “All About Jazz” writes about Miguel Zenón, a Puerto Rican saxophonist: “Like all fine artists, Zenón draws from his heritage and experience for an authentic sound. He continues to shape the folk musics of Puerto Rico here, and as a modern jazz musician (and music academic) he investigates musical structures.” Howard Reich, a Chicago Tribune reporter, emphasizes concert values of Típico: “Playing four works from the album without pause, Zenon's ensemble cast this music as if it were a vast suite. Never mind that the compositions were reordered from the way they appear on the recording.”

A trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire will play music from his latest album “A Rift in Decorum” for the first time exactly during Jazz Jantar.

Last but not least, a few words about the opening concert. EXE EYE is created by four unique music personalities, Colin Stetson, Toby Summerfield, Shahzad Ismaily and Greg Fox. What they are going to play was on the album published by… a metal label that cooperated with pioneers of death metal from Obituary  or one of the most popular contemporary stoner metal groups—Red Fang. Not everyone would dare to do this, but Colin Stetson at the beginning of his career chose his own, non-obvious path on which he met artists from various music worlds, such as Tom Waits, The Chemical Brothers or Arcade Fire. There will be no seats at this concerts.

Jazz Jantar Festival is organised by Club Żak. The festival is co-financed by The City of Gdańsk, The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, with the support of Grupa Żywiec, Gdańska Infrastruktura Wodociągowo-Kanalizacyjna, ZIAJA and Toyota Carter Gdańsk. Our website: www.jazzjantar.pl.


Club Żak


29.10.2017 / 8:00 p.m.

EX EYE / Stetson, Fox, Ismaily, Summerfield // Avant Days // first time in Poland 

Colin Stetson – saxophones / Toby Summerfield – guitar / Shahzad Ismaily – guitar, bass, electronics / Greg Fox – drums


3.11.2017 / 8:00 p.m.

JASKUŁKE SEXTET // KOMEDA RECOMPOSED // Gdańsk/Gdynia/Sopot Jazz Scene

Sławek Jaskułke – piano / Piotr Chęcki – saxophone / Michał Ciesielski – tenor sax / Emil Miszk – trumpet / Piotr Kułakowski – double bass / Roman Ślefarski – drums

AMIRTHA KIDAMBI ELDER ONES / New America // first time in Poland

Amirtha Kidambi – vocals, harmonium, compositions / Matt Nelson – soprano saxophone / Nick Dunston – bass / Max Jaffe – drums

4.11.2017 / 8:00 p.m 

DINOSAUR / TOGETHER, AS ONE // All That Jazz // first time in Poland

Laura Jurd - trumpet, synth / Elliot Galvin – keyboard, synth / Conor Chaplin – electric bass / Corrie Dick – drums

HEROES ARE GANG LEADERS// All That Jazz // first time in Poland  

Thomas Sayers Ellis – spoken word / Randall Horton – spoken word / Crystal Good – spoken word / Janice Lowe – vocals and keyboards / Margaret Morris – vocalist / Ryan Frazier – trumpet / James Brandon Lewis – tenor sax / Devin Brahja Waldman – alto sax & synthesizer / Luke Stewart – electric bass / Warren Trae Crudup III – drums

5.11.2017 / 8:00 p.m.

BLACK BOMBAIM & PETER BRÖTZMANN // Portugal.NOW // first time in Poland

Tojo Rodrigues – bass / Paulo Gonçalves – drums / Ricardo Miranda – electric guitar / Peter Brötzmann – saxophone

STEVE LEHMAN & SÉLÉBÉYONE // Avant Days // first time in Poland

Steve Lehman – alto sax, electronics / Hprizm – spoken work (english) / Gastom Bandimic – spoken word (wolof) / Maciek Lasserre – alto sax / Carlos Homs – keyboard / Drew Gress – double bass / Jacob Richards – drums

6.11.2017 / 8:00 p.m.


Jonas Due Steffensen – trumpet / Maciej Kądziela – saxophones / Jędrzej Łagodziński – saxophones / Rasmus Kjærgård Lund – tube / Emil Palme – guitar / Franciszek Pospieszalski – double bass / Tomo Jacobson – double bass / Szymon Pimpon Gąsiorek - drums


Theo Croker – trumpet / Anthony Ware – Sax / Eric Wheeler – Bass / Michael King – Keys /

Jonathan Barber - Drums 

8.11.2017/ 8:00 p.m


Marquis Hill - trumpet /Junius Paul - bass / Makaya McCraven - drums /Joel Ross – vibraphone / Matt Gold - guitar


John Medeski - piano, organ / Will Bernard – guitar / Kirk Joseph – sousaphone / Terence Higgins – drums

9.11.2017 / 8:00 p.m.


Miguel Zenon - alto sax / Luis Perdomo – piano / Hans Glawischnig – bass / Henry Cole – drums


Ambrose Akinmusire – trumpet / Sam Harris – piano / Harish Raghavan – bass / Justin Brown - drums

10.11.2017 / 8:00 p.m.


Michał Małota - saxophone / Aleksander Żurowski - synths / Michał Stawarz - baraban / Wojtek Kurek – drums

GET THE BLESSING / new album // All That Jazz // premiere

Jake McMurchie – saxophone / Pete Judge – trumpet / Jim Barr – bass / Clive Deamer – drums


Joe Lovano – saxophone / Lawrence Fields – piano / Peter Slavov – double bass / Lamy Istrefi – drums

11.11.2017 / 8:00 p.m.

IMMORTAL ONION / OCELOT TO SALVATION // Young Jazz Scene // premiere

Ziemowit Klimek - double bass, electric bass / Tomir Śpiołek - piano / electric piano / Wojtek Warmijak – drums

RED TRIO FEAT. AXEL DÖRNER & MATTIAS STAHL // Portugal.NOW // special project for Jazz Jantar Festival

Hernani Faustino – bass / Gabriel Ferrandini – drums / Rodrigo Pinheiro – piano / Axel Dörner – trumpet / Mattias Stahl – vibraphone


Dawid Lubowicz – violin / Mateusz Smoczyński – violin / Michał Zaborski – viola /
Krzysztof Lenczowski – cello

12.11.2017 / 8:00 p.m.

BATTLE TRANCE / BLADE OF LOVE // New America // first time in Poland

Travis Laplante - tenor saxophone / Patrick Breiner - tenor saxophone / Matt Nelson - tenor saxophone / Jeremy Viner - tenor saxophone


Susana Santos Silva - trumpet, flugel / Lotte Anker - tenor, sopran saxophone / Sten Sandell - piano / Torbjörn Zetterberg - double bass / Jon Fält – drums

www.jazzjantar.pl  facebook.com/JazzJantar


1-day tickets for  29.10, 3.11, 6.11, 11.11, 12.11.2017:  60 zł / 50 zł –/  discount with Karta do Kultury 40 zł – discount*  

  • 1-day tickets for 4.11, 5.11.2017: 80 zł / 70 zł – discount* with Karta do Kultury /  50 zł – discount*  
  • 1-day tickets for 8.11, 9.11.2017: 90 zł / 75 zł – discount* with Karta do Kultury /  55 zł – discount*  
  • 1-day tickets for 10.11.2017: 100 zł / 80 zł – discount* with Karta do Kultury / 60 zł – discount*  
  • 1-day discount tickets* with Karta Dużej Rodziny: 25 zł

* upon presentation of a valid card while buying a ticket (1 ticket per 1 card)

Tickets online without discounts: http://tickets.klubzak.com.pl/
Organiser: Club Żak, 80-266 Gdańsk, ul. Grunwaldzka 195/197, www.klubzak.com.pl

Ticket sale and reservations are made by the box office of Club Żak from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (on Saturdays and Sundays from 4:00 p.m. or 30 minutes before the first screening in the cinema).

Contact: kasa@klubzak.com.pl; phone: 58 344 05 73 lub 58 345 15 90 – extension numer 117 (only when the box office is open). Payment: card or cash.


Reservations: kasa@klubzak.com.pl. Confirmed reservations must be picked up within 5 days from the date of confirmation (or they are canceled). We do not accept reservations for the last 20 tickets for certain concert.


Number of tickets in each pool is limited. Tickets cannot be returned. All prices include VAT. Number of seats is limited (they are not numbered); in case of a big interest in a certain concert there are no seats.

During the concerts, recording and photographing with professional equipment are banned. The organizer reserves the right to put changes into the program.