Chord Nation on Enter Enea Festival

We had the pleasure to be invited by Leszek Możdżer and Enter Enea Festival to present ourselves as Nikola Kołodziejczyk Orchestra with the "Chord Nation suite. Here are some reviews (translated by Google for Your amusement):

"Nikola Kołodziejczyk Orchestra opened the second day of the festival. Its leader: pianist, composer and conductor is one of the biggest revelations of recent years. This time, with his international orchestra he presented his concert suite "Chord Nation." One could easily be pleased by the sound of the brass section, but virtuosity of vibraphonist Bartek Pieszka also emerged. The orchestra perfectly dovetails charismatic voice of the singer Aga Kiepuszewska associated with the town of Poznań. A little less prominent was, unfortunately, the string quartet. It was like a complement. Whole. Nikola Kołodziejczyk development and fate of the orchestra founded by his worth will follow, because these young people are the future of Polish jazz and Polish music. "
Marek Zaradniak
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"The winner of two Fryderyk Awards (in the last year Debut. And this year for " Baroque progressive "), an international team arrived with his first release," Chord Nation. " And by the time proved that jazz big band (or, as he explained the leader a jazz orchestra, because they have a string quartet) is not necessarily a simple swing and a crowd-pleaser but a full-bodied demanding jazz."
Peter Skórnicki
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"We heard this year's Fryderyk Award-winning suite: Chord Nation. From the stage flowed so great energy, this concert was like a gust of hurricane played just brilliantly. The musicians gathered on stage, and from different countries presented us a big dose of energetic trance and unrestricted jazz. Sounds surprised by their otherness (thanks to certain instruments such as a english horn), and enhanced instrumentation enriched the musical content. The power and momentum of classical music collided here with the intimate sound of jazz, folk elements and colorful ethno. Addictive merger, the common denominator was the lack of restrictions. On that day, from the very beginning, all anxiously looked at the sky, had the impression that he was about to unleash a terrible storm. Fortunately, only a little nature She frightened us and ended up on the raging wind and lost a few drops of rain. Wind of the evening was the additional instrument- quirks of an outdoor festival. "
Pamela Pachuta
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"The second day - the first concert - and immediately convinced that I take part in something special. On stage Nikola Kołodziejczyk Orchestra.
If I were in a short time he experienced an incredible journey, encountering on its way big bands and orchestras, which are standard for this type of music. And every move went down to the conclusion that, however, are meaningless any comparison.
Until at some point I had to say that the only thing I can do is recognize the performed "Chord Nation" as a extremely contemporary work.
Any used analogies are possibly show me the context to better understand the expression - I thought that after only a moment to admire the meticulously well-designed arrangements.
May actually heard sometimes Gershwin, perhaps only because I wanted to find him in their playing.
Or sometimes Aga Kiepuszewska vocals made me look in the 70s - but quickly abandoned all considerations, not to lose another beautiful moment.
When the audience enjoyed exceptional sounds of instruments - such as english horn and vibraphone, which Nikola Kołodziejczyk pointed out before the show - I followed closely saxophones and trumpets. Their powerful force argued that we have to deal not only with something really perfect, but also perfectly corresponding to the need of the times in which we live.
Nikola Kołodziejczyk’s music is so suggestive that even the ability to take any ideas how it could sound differently the modern orchestra. And one more reflection - everything sounds better "live" than on the CD, regardless of whether the performance is equally excellent.
This music simply needs a lot more space, than any other - what do not have to convince anyone.
And when a strong wind started to blow, swaying to the trees ... Oh, great impression that will surely remain in me - believe me. "
Piotr Bielawski
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Photos from the second day of the festival, including the concert and rehearsal photos of the Orchestra (check out the end of the album too!):

Wschód Kultury

I had the pleasure to arrange, orchestrate, prepare and conduct music for a concert with diverse armenian music during „Wschód Kultury” festival in Białystok for the 100th anniversary of the tragic genocide. The concert was performed by OiFP Orchestra, Klezmafour, Adeb Chamoun on ethnic hand percussion, Łukasz Sabat on duduk, Marta Maślanka on cieszynian dulcimer, Maciej Nerkowski — vocal. Live stream was recorded and can be viewed on youtube (embedded above). Concept and artistic vision for the concert — Klezmafour.
I have prepared the parts with the help of Aga Kiepuszewska. Szymon Białorucki and Mateusz Pliniewicz did the initial transcriptions. The live stream mixing engineer was Maciej Barański, venue mixing engineer — Paweł Lipski. Multimedia projections were prepared by Aga Rogala. Lights — Krzysztof Małachowski

Chord Nation released

My jazz orchestra suite „Chord Nation” has been released on iTunes following the physical CD release in November.
You can buy it here:
If You prefer a CD You can order it here:
follow the band and other my endeavours on facebook:

If You are interested in buying sheet music - parts and scores - contact me using the contact form on this site.


Michał Bryndal - Drumnimation

Metropole Orkest

This is a recording of a live performance of Richard Bona and Metropole Orkest playing my arrangement of Richard’s „Bisso Baba”.

Not long ago I was selected to participate in the Metropole Orkest Arrangers Workshop with Richard Bona. 8 arrangers from all over the world come together and have the great opportunity to work with this incredible ensemble — I got to write an arrangement of Richard’s original song, and otherwise work with the orchestra for a week, learning immensely in the process. Vince Mendoza, as the chief conductor and artistic leader has somewhat mentored us through this mind-blowing experience, giving helpful master-classes and conducting the pieces. They say that lots of people apply every year, so that makes this even a greater honor.

I was really inspired by the creative writing of all the arrangers invited - Reinhold Schmoelzer, Jörn Marcussen-Wulff, Scott Ninmer, Paul Anquez, Arcoiris Sandoval, Vickie Yang and Tobias Becker. Scott has a great tight writing instrumentation-wise, Jörn’s horns sound really inspiring, Paul has an ear for melodic nuances and subtle harmonic motion I really like, Reinhold inspired everybody with his superimposed rhythms and sound textures, while Arcoiris showed us some great chords and made a great use of irregular rhythms in her two minute piece, and Vickie and Tobias showed some real class with their stylized arrangements.

The orchestra managment staff does a pretty mind-boggling job of maintaining a 40 projects a year schedule, and seeing how the rehearsal work is laid-out was very good experience — it feels like constant recording session, which it is very much of the time. Custom monitoring for the orchestra, experienced staff that reads scores, live mixing, tasty catering — we had it all that week. Not forgetting the incredible musicians that are the part of the band. Martijn Vink on the drums is really nailing it in the best possible way.
At the workshop we worked on our own arrangements — analyzing, hearing, asking, removing fragments, reworking, hearing and getting answers. This was a great opportunity to see Vince Mendoza in action — having experienced so much he helped our arrangements to feel good, while retaining our original ideas as much as possible. We also concentrated on how groove is obtained — we analyzed some african grooves, and some of the other grooves Richard uses in his work, and we also talked about how the groove is lost — and discussed the aptly-named „groovebusters”. Hearing it from Vince Mendoza was a game-changer for me. Now I have a false sense of grasping the „groove maintenance process” that fails so many times in arrangements all over the music world — and I feel a lot safer now as a composer.

That will need to be confronted with reality though — so check it out in person on 23rd of april in Katowice — I’m writing a suite for a baroque chamber orchestra coupled with jazz trio, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, piano and guitar.

Here’s another Metropole Orkest recording of my arrangement - this time it was a fast assignment for the workshop - arrange this John Williams piece with only theme and piano counterpoint given. I completed it overnight.

Chord Nation

First of all - there are two CDs released that I was working on: Perpetual Motion by Amine and Hamza M’Raihi and Concept Art Orchestra Live in Prague.
Perpetual Motion is a lovechild of M’Raihis’ great oud kanun and composing skills and my weird taste in writing for a string quartet. While arranging i was unaware that there aren’t many (if any) examples of superimposing an active quartet over a decent arabic-rooted smoking-hot virtuosos. There are signs that it spoke to some people to an extent that the recording is nominated to some prestigious prizes and fares well in the world music charts.
The Concept Art Orchestra CD was released in Czech Republic by the Czech Radio, and it was a lot of fun to record, because it was a live concert in a great place: Jazz Dock is literally floating on the water in Prague. The second aspect of fun is that the recording features my composition that deals with big band overtones. That might have been the loudest composition i had pleasure to perform!

Chord Nation suite for a jazz orchestra with string quartet and electronics commissioned by Wrocław Philharmonic and Jazztopad Festival is being recorded - it premiered in november in Wrocław, and now we’re in the middle of mixing it after an extensive recording session in Polish Radio. As soon as i will have a little bit of free time i will link some photos, reviews and video from the recording session. It may deserve its own page, eventually.
This is a great place to thank all the people involved in the process, and there were so many that it would be somewhat embarassing to omit somebody (what i fear).
Big thank You to
Witold Kołodziejczyk, Aga Kiepuszewska, Mateusz Pliniewicz, Gosia Warszawska, Błażej Domański, Karolina Skrzyńska, Janek Pawlak, Tomasz Tamborski, Jacek Dyrda, Piotr Damasiewicz, Piotr Turkiewicz, Adrian Podgórny, Ewelina Serafin, Benny Brown, Erwin żebro, Oskar Torök, štepanka Balcárova, Marcin Wołowiec, Mateusz Mendyka, Mateusz łysoń, Paweł Niewiadomski, Szymon Kamykowski, Dawid Główczewski, Marek Pospieszalski, Przemysław Florczak, Mariusz Pędziałek, Grzegorz Grzeszczyk, Maciej Szczyciński, Michał Bryndal, Piotr Wronka, VIP Catering, Katering Katowice, Polskie Radio Katowice, Academy of Music in Katowice and many more.

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People You need to check out; Reut Rivka Shabi, Afrika Mikue Bibang Makina.

Hey, Czech concerts with the Concept Art Orchestra are over - the news are that Czech State Radio recorded our concert in Jazz Dock and they will release it this fall on a CD, so more raw energy big-band things pile up on the end of the year than expected.

I just got back home from a triple concert i had a pleasure to participate in - apart from Bartek Pieszka Quartet on the Klub 22 stage in Tarnowskie Góry You could have heard Krzysztof Kobyliński project and Johnny Freelance Experience - both multicultural and international endeavours that really blew my mind, and featured great vocals of the ladies mentioned on the top of this post.

In other news, my other cooperative endeavour - a piano and string quartet extension to Amine & Hamza's great tunisian music is approaching Switzerland this week - czech it out in the concerts section!

Also, the November the 20th concert of my 27 piece band is coming along nicely, expect a dedicated page just for this one.

I am to make some fresh arrangements for Amine & Hamza as we will feature a great flute player in Switzerland - so I need to stop writing this post and focus on the unfinished work!

it's getting crowded in here

It seems that there is a rule on composing - once You start to write for bigger ensembles they are only getting bigger and bigger. I wasn't aware of that rule when I wrote a big band suite last year, and more recently - a piece for a symphonic orchestra.
Now i'm officialy starting to work on the second big band suite - this time augmented with real time audio manipulation and some symphonic instruments as well - like oboe, bass clarinet flutes and strings for a good measure.
The artistic director of Jazztopad festival has been very kind to commission this brand new piece - and as You can reckon it will be premiered on this year's edition of Jazztopad - namely on 20th of november in the wroclaw philharmonic hall.
From the smaller department - my arrangements of tunisian music composed and played by Amine and Hamza M'Raihi - string quartet, piano oud and kanun - will be played in Kraków - my hometown - shortly after being showcased at the opening night of Jazz a Carthage festival. There will be a dvd coming, as well as european cd premiere.
In the meantime i'm also preparing something for a big-band concert in Prague recorded by the Czech radio. In both bigbands expect the uncanny leadership of Ed Partyka, what in my opinion settles any debate on the awesomeness of the sound of the band. Now only the notes to be written are the mystery part, but i'll try to take care of this.

The forest of gadgets

It's 5 AM and today I finished working on parts for the 25 piece band - Composer's Ensemble. It's time to play something to reset myself and concentrate on next assignments.

Forest of gadgets  by  Nikola Kołodziejczyk

I am considering playing (and recording) musical sketches on a daily basis. This could be a nice material for a blog that could easily be turned into a release of some kind. Taking a half an hour to just play some random ideas and sticking to the virtual deadline of one sketch per day would be a good start. I need to find a way to stop the internet worms from indexing the mp3's behind the flash player so I can somehow manage the congestion of the presented material. Any ideas?
If I figure out a way out of this situation I would be more eager to post such doodles as this one above, and generally be more productive I suppose.

I need to get up at 10 so I need to catch some sleep.

Update: changed the player to the soundcloud widget. Let's see if it's playing nice with me.

Michał Bryndal - Master of Performing Arts

Creative business

There is plenty of things that happened since my last update.
My suite for an extended big band - Extreme Conditions - had it's premiere during my master's recital, we played it on 3 concerts in Austria maliciously using the kindness of the Graz Music Academy's own Jazz Institute. This is the moment when everybody should bow to Ed Partyka for making it happen, in very much every aspect.
Second thing that happened is a suprise project! It was a suprise to me, because I agreed to make an hour of string quartet arrangements for Amine & Hamza - tunisian oud and kanun virtuosos. The suprise part was the timeframe - i had to basically make everything in two weeks, so the players get another 3 days for practicing. A string quartet consisting of players coming over to Tunisia from Quebec, Indiana, Boston and Tunis was indeed delighted to see nearly an hour of string quartet madness where they expected long, long notes to play.
The CD was recorded in Tunisia - so another 2 weeks for changes, recordings, mixes and a day to relax - that was a great experience!
Also recording piano in Tunis is something definitely uncommon there, and was fun to see the tiny details like a blind man tuning the piano and telling me: "You are from Poland - I remember general Paderewski, great pianist."
It was great to get to know wonderful musicians all over the world - serbian percussionist Goran Milosevic, french guitar player Quentin Dujardin, strings -Sarah Wood, Lilian Belknap and Robin Ryczek (who also gave a masterclasses in Tunis as they were representatives of Cultures in Harmony organisation), Nidhal Jedali and of course Amine and Hamza M'raihi, and their great friends and family.

But that's not all as far the news goes - we recorded Stryjoin september - the weird trio - with Michał Bryndal and Maciej Szczyciński. We had a pleasure of winning some studio time in RG Studio in Radio Gdańsk - so we took the opportunity and extended that into a 3-day recording fest. We asked Błażej Domański - a nice and likeable guy working for Studio 7 in Piaseczno who has a tremendous ear for details to be the recording engineer for this one.

Where did my holidays go?

(update: thanks to Mr. William Harvey for reminding me that American master string players don't pop in by themselves as far as Tunis is concerned)

Jim Beard Workshop

Jim Beard, one of the great music producers of our time, very skilled composer and sideman to such big names as John Scofield, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin and Wayne Shorter recently gave a workshop in our insitute. He has recorded with artists from an extremely wide range of musical styles - from Dizzy Gillespie to the Brecker Brothers, Dianne Reeves to Meshell Ndegeocello, Toninho Horta to Walter Becker.
Giving us balanced lecture about his composing process, touring remarks, a bit of jazz history he participated in and actually making us play some excersises he like to pursue, he left a big exclamation mark in our heads insisting that we pursue the music further, deeper and in more competent fashion. That was a good day.

The Big Exit


I am proud to announce that from now on I will be getting my compositional knowledge from Ed Partyka - great composer and big band guru. As a nice touch for marking a year of this tutoring we are planning a big concert for the 5th of june 2009. One hour long Extended Big Band piece will be played as my piano masters degree recital. It is planned to place this event in Symfonia Concert Hall in Katowice.

Jazz Camping Kalatówki 2008

During this week I will be playing, rehearsing and jamming with people from all over Poland in Kalatówki.
29.09 - Inauguracja XII Jazz Campingu - free entry
30.09 - Jam Session na Kalatówkach - free entry
01.10 - Jazz i Górale na Kalatówkach - free entry
02.10 - Jam Session na Kalatówkach - free entry
03.10 - Jam Session na Kalatówkach - free entry
04.10 - 20:00 - Final concert - tickets @ reception

School of Improvised Music Workshop

We had a pleasure to welcome School of Improvised Music faculty members in Katowice during 3rd Silesian Jazz Festival, and They had the opportunity to try to teach us something about music. Ralph Alessi - trumpet, Ravi Coltrane - saxophone, Mark Helias – double bass/el. bass, Brad Shepik -guitar, Jim Black - drums, Matt Mitchell – piano. And that's not all - Ed Partyka - composition and big-band studies and Judy Bady - vocal joined them to provide ultimate learning experience.

That was a mind changing week - seriously. Concerts, workshops, jams, talking about music - everything gave me a big musical boost.