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3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition

Ian Patterson By

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Last, but by no means least, Cécile Delzant once more offered a bold programme that, in addition to Seifert's "Man of the Light," also presented Ornette Coleman's "Peace" and the original composition "Magic, My Child." A misunderstanding with the rhythm section at the outset, where Delzant played unaccompanied without support only implied a slight delay in the real business, and, once everybody was on track, Delzant launched the quartet with a mazy, hypnotic solo that fired Wania to similar heights. The comparative tranquillity of the intro to Coleman's "Peace" cast a quiet spell, with Mucha's bowed bass lyricism to the fore; raising the tempo, Delzant's offered an extended improvisation, utterly devoid of cliché. Seifert's "Man of the Light" brought forth tremendously flowing and exciting soloing from the violinist.

Who would be a judge? The difficult task of deciding the three winners took the panel of judges a couple of hours. Once more, the musicians assembled and, after congratulating all five finalists, Michal Urbaniak revealed the results. In no particular order—the placing of first, second and third would take place the next night at a gala evening in Kraków-the names of Gabriel Terracciano, Mario Forte and Layth Sidiq were announced. Cheers and applause rang out form those gathered and all the musicians warmly embraced and congratulated the three musicians.

Gala Night: Announcement of Winner

The following morning a bus departed for Kraków with the musicians. There was the guts of the day to explore the handsome streets of the city before gathering at Kijow Centrum, a former cinema turned concert hall, for the announcement of first, second and third place in the competition. The emcee for the evening, as for the previous three days, Janusz Jablonski, introduced a number of dignitaries, including the Zbigniew Seifert Foundation's President, Aneta-Norek-Skrycka. As the event was being televised by Polish National Television all the speeches and presentations were, naturally enough, delivered in Polish.

Before the three violinists learnt of their final positions, Amalia Obrębowska was presented with the audience prize, as voted by those who watched the semi-finals. The popular vote for Obrębowska was well merited, and indeed, she could consider herself a little unlucky not to have advanced to the final. The third place prize in the 3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Violin Competition went to Gabriel Terracciano. Second place was awarded to Layth Sidiq. First place went to Mario Forte. The three musicians each played a composition, backed as ever by the tireless Dominik Wania Trio. Perhaps, with the tension of competition gone, all three violinists played quite beautifully, and with a spirit of freedom. There then followed a short intermission, a breather before a very special concert.

John Scofield, John Medeski & The Konglomerat Big Band

Fittingly, the program of the nineteen-piece Konglomerat Big Band saw special arrangements of Zbigniew Seifert's compositions, with each arrangement by a different member of the band. The participation of John Scofield was another nice touch, as the guitarist had recorded with Seifert on the violinist's album Passion (Capitol, 1979). Scofield was in laid back mode on "Coral" and played a particularly seductive, bluesy solo on "City of Spring," with John Medeski animated on organ. Seifert's compositions translated very well to a big band setting, with muted trumpets adding a new dimension to "Song for Christopher" -one of Seifert's most beautiful works. The cantering rhythms of "Kilimanjaro" sparked a gutsy response from Scofield, though it was the sweeping brass arrangement that stole the show.

A Scofield and Medeski duet, "Dedicated to Zbiggy," was in fact a blues-edged reworking of "Summertime." Medeski, on piano, and Scofield, both took extended solos, though there was little in the way of interplay, with Medeski maintaining a vampish rhythm as Scofield soloed, and the guitarist laying out as Medeski stepped up. Scofield wove quietly mesmeric lines on an epic arrangement of "Where Are You From?, with Medeski feverish organ improvisation equally persuasive. A West African groove colored the intro to the vibrant "Spring on the Farm," which featured Scofield, and an excellent trombone solo.

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