28th Summer Jazz Festival Kraków

Sunday, July 2, 2023 - Saturday, September 2, 2023

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  • Sunday, July 2, 2023 - Saturday, September 2, 2023

Jazz Summer Rhythms

Stars from Poland and abroad, up-and-coming young musicians, concerts in stately halls and cult clubs… Jazz has many names!

The phenomenon of the Summer Jazz Festival Kraków can be put into numbers: only this year more than a dozen locations in the capital of Małopolska and further afield host 130 concerts featuring 500 artists from Poland and abroad, and organisers are estimating an audience of around 50,000! But you don’t need to be a statistician to feel the magic of the event. As you wander through the streets of the Old Town on summer evenings, you’ll catch snatches of tunes and melodies from many clubs.

The event has its roots in the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Piwnica pod Baranami club in 1996. Encouraged by the legendary founder of the club Piotr Skrzynecki, the Cracovian impresario Witold Wnuk organised the first cycle of concerts titled the Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami. The event grew rapidly, and around a decade later it was the largest jazz festival in Poland. Nowadays, you don’t even need to set foot inside a club if you want to listen to music! The 28th festival is launched out in the open air with the traditional New Orleans Parade marching from the Main Market Square to the Szczepański Square on 2 July. This year’s music celebration is longer than usual, closing on 2 September with a special concert marking a decade since the passing of the legendary guitarist Jarek Śmietana.

World class

As always, Kraków welcomes some of the greatest stars from the world of jazz. For many fans, the main attraction will be the performance by Marcus Miller and his ensemble at ICE Kraków on 17 July. The American multi-instrumentalist, composer and winner of numerous industry awards, such as the Grammy and the Edison, has worked with stars including Eric Clapton, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Brian Ferry, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana and none other than Miles Davis; Miller composed and produced material for three of the Davis’s albums.

On 24 July, the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology resounds with the American group Yellowjackets bringing together elements of funk, R&B and fusion. The musicians have been playing together for over 40 years, and they are currently performing and recording as a lineup of four. Their latest album Parallel Motion was recently nominated for a Grammy in the Best Instrumental Jazz Album category.

On 30 July, the Fusion Night at the Kraków Philharmonic presents an international quartet comprising Billy Cobham (percussion), Adam Bałdych (violin), Vladislav Sendecki (piano) and Linley Marthe (bass). The musicians performed in Kraków during the 2020 festival – their concert held at the peak of the pandemic restrictions didn’t disappoint!

On 12 August, the Kraków Philharmonic welcomes the piano virtuoso Michel Camilo from the Dominican Republic. The classically-trained musician fell in love with jazz as a teenager when he first heard the legendary Art Tatum on the radio. His other inspirations include Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans.

The festival programme also includes several special concerts. Mike Verba’s All Stars perform at Radio Kraków on 7 July. The Cracovian pianist and composer Michał Wierzba brings together Michał Urbaniak (violin), Wayne Escoffery (sax), Ronnie Burrage (percussion), Nimrod Speaks (bass) and Balay (vocals). On 16 July, the ruins of the Tenczyn Castle in Rudno host an outdoor concert featuring the Keith Thompson Trio, while the Golden Hall of the Kraków Philharmonic resounds with the saxophonist Maciej Obara and his quartet on 23 July.

From the cellar to the palace

As usual, the majority of festival events will be held in July. Daily concerts are held at the event’s original venue Piwnica pod Baranami and the nearby Harris Piano Jazz Bar; the latter resounds with a blend of funk, jazz and rock. The list of acclaimed musicians is long: Poland is represented by Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski, Włodzimierz Nahorny, Krzesimir Dębski, Dorota Miśkiewicz, Krzysztof Ścierański, Marek Napiórkowski, Marek Bałata, Lora Szafran, Bernard Maseli and the ensembles Laboratorium and Friends, while guests from abroad include the Dutch pianist Mike del Ferro, Italian pianist Roberto Magris, Cypriot percussionist Ioannis Vafeas and the American multi-instrumentalist Nat Osborn with his ensemble.

The Globus Music Club, which opened early last year in Podgórze, joins the festival for the second time. In July, the club at Węgierska Street hosts 12 concerts for fans of trad jazz, bebop and blues. As well as local musicians, performers include the trio comprising Krzysztof Kijas (harmonica), Arek Skolik (percussion) and Kajetan Galas (Hammond organ), the guitarist Andrzej Gondek (winner of this year’s Fryderyk Award for Jazz Debut), the Italian vocalist Giulia La Rosa accompanied by Andrea Beneventano (piano) and Aldo Joshua (trombone), and the Indonesian pianist Nita Aartsen.

In August, the festival makes itself at home at Alchemia, which hosts Piotr Orzechowski and Kuba Więcek, Franciszek Raczkowski, and Adam Pierończyk and Dominik Wania. On the final days of the summer holidays, piano sounds fill the Golden Hall of the Kraków Philharmonic. The Solo Piano Week features artists familiar to Cracovian audiences: Joachim Mencel, Piotr Orzechowski, Mateusz Gawęda, Dominik Wania, Mateusz Pałka, Adam Makowicz and Piotr Wyleżoł. On three Wednesdays of the festival (19 July, and 23 and 30 August), the festival brings free concerts held as part of the Young Stage cycle to the Potocki Palace.

Music for the soul

The two-month-long musical feast closes with a cycle of four concerts held under the joint banner Krakow Spiritual Music Days, intended as a space for reflection on the political and social turmoil of recent years. On 30 August, the Kraków Opera welcomes the saxophonist Jan Garbarek, widely regarded as the godfather of the Scandinavian jazz scene; he will be joined by his ensemble and special guest the Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu. On 31 August, Grażyna Auguścik and Jarosław Bester bring together the worlds of jazz, avant-garde, folk and classical music at the Church of St Catherine; the programme The Light comprises a selection of folk songs collected by Oskar Kolberg and religious Marian songs.

Marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, on 1 September the Kraków Philharmonic presents The Bell for Peace with musicians including Markus Stockhausen, Leszek Możdżer, Olga Pasiecznik and Dominik Wania accompanied by the choir and orchestra of the Kraków Philharmonic. The programme includes works by Krzysztof Penderecki, Leszek Możdżer and Ukrainian composers.

The following day, friends and collaborators of the acclaimed Cracovian guitarist Jarek Śmietana mark the 10th anniversary of his passing at Radio Kraków. His compositions are performed by artists such as Piotr Baron, Andrzej Olejniczak, Marek Napiórkowski, Antoni Dębski, Kajetan Galas, Jacek Pelc and Adam Czerwiński.

The programme of the Summer Jazz Festival Kraków fills days and evenings with music, with something for even the most particular fans of the genre. And if that’s still not enough, don’t forget Jazz Night organised by the Department of Culture and National Heritage of the Kraków Municipal Office. (Bartosz Suchecki, ”Kraków Culture” magazine)


(Click to enlarge!)

Kraków Philharmonic

30.07 Fusion Night feat. Billy Cobham, Adam Bałdych & Vladislav „Adzik” Sendecki (CONCERT POSTPONED!)
12.08 Michel Camilo

Tenczyn Castle in Rudno

16.07 Keith Thompson Trio

Radio Kraków

07.07 Michał Wierba All Stars feat. Michał Urbaniak

The Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology

24.07 Yellowjackets

ICE Kraków Congress Centre

17.07 Marcus Miller / European Tour 2023

Ratuszowa Restaurant

02.09 Festival's closing concert: Traditional Jazz – Hot Swing / Old Metropolitan Band

02.07 New Orleans Sunday

Concerts around the Main Market Square (from noon):

  • Old Metropolitan Band (Harris Piano Jazz Bar)
  • Jazz Band Ball Orchestra (Ratuszowa Restaurant)
  • Playing Family (Kurant)
  • Hot Swing (Szara Restaurant)

New Orleans Parade, starting from Town Hall Tower.

Concerts at Szczepański Square (from 6pm).

  • Orchestra Dedicated – Groborz & Cronies,
  • Playing Family,
  • Joshua Edelman & Xabi Arakama with a band.

“Jazz Moment” by Urszula Las – photography exhibition's opening at Pałac pod Baranami

All open-air events on this day are free of charge.

Concerts at clubs (ticketed):

  • 8pm | Globus Music Club Kraków | Cindy Franke & Per Karang
  • 9pm | Piwnica pod Baranami | Old Metropolitan Band
  • 9:30pm | Harris Piano Jazz Bar  | Orchestra Dedicated

Piwnica pod Baranami

Harris Piano Jazz Bar

Globus Music Club


Solo Piano Week at Kraków Philharmonic Hall

Potocki Palace

Krakow Spiritual Music Days

Source: press release

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