Philip Palmer is a teacher, translator and music writer based in Krakow, Poland
I fell into music writing, after recently suggesting to the editor of UK magazine, Jazzwise, that he listen to a recording of a Polish band, called Pink Freud, who I had caught live and seemed to me to be doing something unusual and important. To my surprise and bewilderment, he suggested I write a live review, which was published. Since then, I have contributed again to Jazzwise, and a number of other newspapers, magazines and websites.
Poland has produced some fine musicians. Old masters like saxophonists, Janusz Muniak, who co-led a group with Tomasz Stanko for years and Zbigniew Namyslowski, who played the Newport Festival in the 1960s are still very active. There is also a vibrant modern jazz scene represented by younger musicians like saxophonist, Mikolaj Trzaska, who has worked with Brotzmann and the bass and drum duo, the Oles Brothers, who have collaborated with David Murray.
Krakow is a mecca for European jazz fans, boasting six or seven jazz clubs, so there is never a shortage of good quality live entertainment, ranging from Dixieland to mainstream and experimental. We also receive regular visitors from across the Atlantic, such as Ken Vandermark and The Cosmosamatics, most of whom play Alchemia, a club in the atmospheric old Jewish quarter. Many musicians seem to be inspired by the hospitality and beautiful medieval town centre, and either record their gigs and release live albums, or make studio recordings with influential labels like Not Two Records.