Visegrad Jazz Exchange project kicks off!

The JAZZ PO POLSKU Foundation, together with partners from the Visegrad Group countries – the Slovak Jazz Society, TIM Production and Czech Jazz Art – is launching the „Visegrad Jazz Exchange” project. The initiative will include concert tours and music workshops in all V4 countries. The project is co-financed by the International Visegrad Fund and will kick off in February in Chech Republic.

„Visegrad Jazz Exchange” is an initiative to establish artistic cooperation among musicians from the Visegrad Group countries. The ensemble, formed especially for the occasion, will include acclaimed musicians Radovan Tariška (saxophone, Slovakia), Rafal Sarnecki (guitar, Poland), Tomas Baroš (double bass, Czech Republic) and Balazs Bágyi (drums, Hungary). The project will include 16 concerts, 4 in each country and will kick off in February in Czech Republic as a first destination. In May the band will perform in Slovakia, in September in Hungary and in November in Poland. The musicians will also conduct music workshops, addressed to students from music schools.

The project aims to strengthen cooperation among artists and organizations from the V4 countries, both now and in the near future. As part of the project, we intend to create a unique ensemble that will include leading representatives of the current jazz scene of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. The artists will perform a repertoire specially prepared for this occasion, inspired by the culture of each country, as well as current music” says Jakub Krzeszowski, President of the Board at the JAZZ PO POLSKU Foundation.

The „Visegrad Jazz Exchange” project is carried out by the JAZZ PO POLSKU Foundation and is financed by the International Visegrad Fund. Partners include Slovak Jazz Society, TIM Production, Czech Jazz Art. Honorary patronage: Polish Institute in Bratislava. Media patron: Jazz Forum Magazine.

The schedule:

21.02 Czech Republic, Teplice, TepJazz Club 
22.02 Czech Republic, Prague, The Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory and VOŠ * workshops
22.02 Czech Republic Prague, U malého Glena 
23.02 Czech Republic, Prague, U malého Glena 
24.02 Czech Republic, Prague, Jazz Dock 

03.05 Slovakia, Piešťany-La Musica
04.05 Slovakia, Levice-Frtus Winery
06.05 Slovakia, Nitra-Milá Deva / warsztaty  Banska Stiavnica High School / Banska Bystrica-Conservatory

11.09 Hungary, Budapeszt, Opus Jazz Club 
12.09 Hungary, Pecs, E78 Concert Hall 
13.09 Hungary, Szekesfehervar, Cultural Center 
14.09 Hungary, Debrecen/Veszprem tbc

13.11 Poland, Wrocław, Vertigo Jazz Club
14.11 Poland, Łódź, Akademia Muzyczna im. Grażyny i Kiejstuta Bacewiczów w Łodzi * warsztaty
15.11 Poland, Poznań, Blue Note Jazz Club
16.11 Poland, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Pod Filarami
17.11 Poland, Warsaw, Jassmine

Radovan Tariška (saxophone. Slovakia)
As a leader, he recorded his debut jazz album called “Elements” in 2006, which was nominated for jazz award “Aurel” as the best jazz album of the year. In 2007 he produced a debut album of an award-winning respected jazz singer, Hanka G who lives & performs in New York called “Reflections of My Soul”. Radovan also visited New York and performed at the renowned jazz clubs. In the same year, he established his own band „Radovan Tariska Sextet” with international jazz musicians and performed all over the world. In 2012 he had released the second album “Folklore to Jazz” which pays tribute to Slovak folk music re-arranged to jazz. He had invited world-renown jazz musicians such as Benito Gonzales (piano), Essiet Okon Essiet (bass) to participate in the recording, among others. One of his latest projects is a “Radio Band” that he established in 2017. During his career, Radovan cooperated with outstanding musicians from all over the world: James Morrison, George Mraz, Oliver Kent, Harry Sokal, Jarek Smietana, Piotr Baron, Benito Gonzalez, Essiet Okon Essiet, Andreas Varady, Clarence Penn, Rodney Whitaker, Gary Smulyan, etc.

Rafał Sarnecki (guitar, Poland) – guitarist, composer, arranger born in 1982 in Warsaw, Poland. In 2005 he left his hometown to study jazz in New York where he spent most of his career. He received his BFA degree from the Jazz & Contemporary Music Program at the New School and his MA from the graduate jazz program at the CUNY Queens College. Living in NY he was involved in a variety of New York based groups including the Lucas Pino No-Net Nonet (2009-2019) which had a monthly residency at the famous Smalls Jazz Club. As a leader of his own projects he organized 15 tours in Asia. He has also performed in North and South Americas and most European countries. Rafal has recorded five CDs as a leader. Three of them: Song From a New Place (2008), Cat’s Dream (2014) and A View From The Treetop (2022) were nominated for the Fryderyk award, the Polish equivalent of a Grammy. The Madman Rambles Again (2011, Fresh Sound) was selected as among the best jazz albums of 2011 by Hi – Fi magazine and All About Jazz.

Tomas Baroš (double bass, Czech Rep.),  grew up in a musician family as a child of well-known trumpet player JúliusBaroš. He was Tomašś first teacher and inspiration in his life and music. Tomáš gained his knowledge as a student of classical double bass at the Prague College of Music. From his early age he became a respected member of the Prague jazz scene. Nowadays, Tomas belongs to the most prefered bass players on the Czech and Slovak music scene. His talent is proved by many successes. In 1999 he won the first prize in his category in the National Classic Competition. In 2003 was awarded in the International Jazz & Blues festival in Ústí nad Labem as the „Solo Player of the Year“. As a member of the Miroslav Hloucal Quartet won the JazzPrix Competition in 2012. From 2006 Tomas is member of Gustav Brom Czech radio Big Band. As a performer, he has colaborate with world class artists like Benny Golson, Seamus Blake, Danny Grisset, Bob Mintzer, Aaron Goldberg, Arturo Sandoval, Kalman Olah, Rick Margitza, Antonio Farao, Alex Sipiagin, Lizz Wright, Roberta Gambarini, Gene Jackson, Justin Faulkner, Vincent Herring, George Mraz, Miroslav Vitous, Joe Cohn, Paul Bollenback, John Betsch, Brian Charrette, Piotr Wojtasik, Tony Lakatos, Igor Buttman, Harry Sokal, Benito Gonzales, Winand Gabor, Ryan Carniaux etc. 

Balazs Bágy (drums, Hungary) drummer and composer, one of the most respected musicians of the Hungarian jazz scene today, working internationally, leading his own bands over the last two decades. Being a member of different bands he creates music almost in all genres, his unique melodic style of playing the drums gives a complex music experience. He has toured the USA several times, and he is the only Hungarian jazz musician who regularly plays in China. The music of his new quartet contains less of the folk background but sounds like today’ s pure acoustic jazz based on post bop elements. During the recent years his band played at many European jazz festivals (Bratislava Jazz Days, Jazz Juniors Krakow, Bansko Jazz Festival, Nisville, Mosaic Jazz Fest Sibiu, Sarajevo Winter, Petrovac Jazz Festival, Skopje Summer Festival), and performed at a few really famous jazz clubs as well (Jassmine, Warsaw; Agharta Jazz Club Prague, B-Flat Berlin, Jazzland Wien). Beside the European scene they regularly play in China, where they performed at several famous festivals and clubs (Beijing Nine Gates Jazz Festival, Changchun Jazz Festival, JZ Club Shanghai). Their collaboration with Shanghai based trumpeter Li Xiaochuan has been last many years ago.

The JAZZ PO POLSKU Foundation is a non-governmental organization, presenting a wide spectrum of possibilities for Polish artists. It helps to establish international cultural cooperation and integrates the communities of artists from many countries. It strives to refresh and strengthen the image of Polish jazz in the consciousness of foreign audiences. Since 2012, JAZZ PO POLSKU has held more than 400 events, in 20 countries. Over 150 musicians took part in them. In the framework of the organized projects, concerts of both, Polish and foreign artists, are held in Poland as well.

The International Visegrad Fund is an international organization established on the basis of an agreement among the governments of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The purpose of the Fund’s activities is to inspire and support closer cooperation between the countries of the Fund, and they are implemented by supporting joint cultural, scientific, educational, youth exchanges and cross-border cooperation projects.

The Visegrad Group (V4) is an informal regional form of cooperation among four Central European countries – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, which are linked not only by neighborhood and similar geopolitical conditions, but also by common history, tradition and culture. The idea behind the formation of the Group was to intensify cooperation in building democratic state structures and a free market economy, and in the long run to participate in the process of European integration. Its establishment has taken place in February 15, 1991, when the presidents of Poland – Lech Walesa, Czechoslovakia President – Václav Havel and Hungarian Prime Minister – József Antall signed a joint declaration in the Hungarian town of Visegrad, defining the objectives and conditions of mutual cooperation. Visegrad cooperation involves numerous and diverse entities: presidents, prime ministers, ministers, parliaments, government institutions, non-governmental organizations, scientific centers, universities and cultural institutions.