Janusz M. Stefański about Zbigniew Seifert


Who was he to me? He was a brilliant musician!

And a wonderful friend! We met In Music High School in Cracow in 1962. We were almost exact contemporaries. I was born on the 14th, Zbyszek on the 7thof June 1946. At that time he was in the third grade and I was in the second grade (since I had repeated one year at school).  Having changed the school, I started looking for the people I could be friends with and then I found Zbyszek. He played the violin, I was taking percussion lessons. We both dreamed of playing jazz. Zbyszek was devoted to playing the alto saxophone as at that time he was not convinced that he could play jazz violin.

When Alojzy Thomys and Janusz Mroczek established the jazz section, it turned out that some of the students were interested in joining it. Among others there were Zbyszek, Jan Jarczyk, Jan Gonciarczyk and me. As a result, the Zbyszek Seifert Quartet came into being. We used to go to “Helikon” jazz club after school as we wanted to play jazz and get acquainted with Cracow’s jazz musicians.

Our friendship had two dimensions: musical and private.

The fact that it was Zbyszek who founded the quartet was not accidental. He had a great potential and a musical intuition. From the very beginning he knew which style and aesthetic to choose. Coltrane was his God…

While practicing, he focused entirely on playing the saxophone. Even if a helicopter had flown into his house, he probably would not have stopped playing. I admired his approach to playing the alto saxophone. He played in a sharp, dense, avant-garde way, the musical phrases were very complex. His head was full of amazing sounds, he produced them very quickly as if he had known that his time was soon to be over…

His performances were very expressive. He kept playing until his improvisations reached perfection.

He inspired me and influenced the development of my own ideas about playing the drums.

After a couple of years spent playing the saxophone, he decided to focus on playing the violin again (in Tomasz Stańko Quintet). It had a great influence on his career.

I have never known any violin player who would play the violin the way Zbyszek did. He used the saxophone phrases while playing the violin, which – as he said – was a great challenge. One sometimes had the impression that his fingers were about to break and his instrument was about to kindle. His dramatic and warm sound, beautiful melody and harmony made the listeners participate in his musical journey.  

Zbyszek was a deeply spiritual, lyrical and dramatic author at the same time. He was a person of outstanding intelligence and great sense of humor. His fascinating personality attracted me and for this reason we became good friends.

We enjoyed spending free time together – we hiked in the mountains, slept in the hay, talked about women…drank and smoked…

During our tours in Europe he was a great companion. I drove the car and he read the map.

We liked talking about life, family, fortune and misfortune, hopes and disappointments.

We used to compare our ideas about the future... and we played together as long as it was possible.

His sickness was unexpected and two years later he was gone for ever.

Zbyszek’s music is still present and continuously inspires many musicians all over the world.

Calendar 2018

July  25
audition in Lusławice – semi-finals
July 26
audition in Lusławice – semi-finals
July 27
audition in Lusławice – finals
July 28 – gala concert in Cracow

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Zbigniew Seifert (1946-1979) was one of the most eminent Polish jazz musicians and a man of incredible musical talent. His untimely death did not let him fully develop his musical abilities and interrupted a promising worldwide career.

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Regulations of the 3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition, Poland, July 25-28, 2018.

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10,000 EURO – 1st prize

5,000 EURO – 2nd prize

2,000 EURO – 3rd prize

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Marek Karewicz photos

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