13th Enter Enea Festival, Nad Jeziorem Strzeszyńskim, Poznań, Wednesday, June 7, 2023
After Tuesday’s extremely successful festival evening, we were eagerly awaiting another unforgettable musical experience at the closing concert. And the very first number of Wednesday’s program, Gloria Campaner Trio – ASTOR, lived up to our expectations. The charismatic pianist Gloria Campaner from Venice brought on stage the excellent clarinetist Alessandro Carbonare and the similarly capable bandoneonist Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi to play a concert dedicated to the famous Argentine composer and bandoneon player Ástor Piazzolla, who, by incorporating elements of jazz and classical music, transformed the traditional tango into a new style called tango nuevo.
Piazzolla’s compositions, in the refined conception of this trio playing them with extraordinary passion, sounded absolutely beautiful, a joy to absorb every note. Halfway through their performance, the beautiful Gloria announced an interpretation of Piazolla’s Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (i.e., The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) with Leszek Możdżer. The joint interpretation of all four seasons Otoño (Autumn), Invierno (Winter), Primavera (Spring) and Verano (Summer) was a feast for the ears and soul, ‘le grand tango’ can be found in the video sample below. There was no end to the ovations, the beautifully played Libertango in the encore gave the concert a real exclamation point. Bravo!
Michal Kratochvíl: Gloria Campaner and her trio made a spirited entrance befitting the music of Astor Piazzola, which they played throughout the concert. Gloria also showed off a bit of her Polish, which she used to charm the local audience and confessed that she simply couldn’t refuse the Enter Festival. There was a change of mood in the beautiful, wistful ballad Oblivion, but then we went straight back to the energetic tango nuevo, with Mario’s exuberant energy showing through his grimaces and theatrical movements. Of course, Leszek could not be absent from the stage, but he burned the band with a great joke with his double. He came on stage and started playing a completely different song, which completely threw Gloria and Mario off. Then the real Leszek and his security guard burst onto the stage and the double was escorted off the stage. The audience and the band were belly laughing and it was a very successful sketch. After that, the song with Leszek was played without any further „complications“ and was beautiful. The trio went on to perform The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires and of course the famous Libertango at the end.
Gloria Campaner Trio feat Leszek Mozdzer, Enter Enea Festival Poznan, 7.6.2023
Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski Quartet brought to the festival a legend of Polish jazz, an outstanding saxophonist, composer, arranger, conductor, teacher and music journalist Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski (born 27 March 1936), who made his debut in 1956 in Krzysztof Komeda’s band. With his experienced teammates Andrzej Święs – double bass, Marcin Jahr – drums and guest Leszek Możdżer – piano, they played a number of jazz standards with precision, and a proper blues at the end. Understandable captivating music attracted two interested children just below the stage. The Polish audience was completely moved.
Michal Kratochvíl: Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski Quartet feat. Leszek Możdżer was one of the concerts where I didn’t have much idea what to expect. It was kind of clear that it probably wouldn’t be any more groundbreaking avant-garde jazz, but I didn’t expect it to be this nostalgic and old-fashioned. I have to write straight away that this type of jazz doesn’t excite me anymore. It didn’t help that unfortunately it was still following the traditional pattern, where one solo follows another and no moment of surprise or any significant excitement comes. Perhaps only in Nefertiti, when Jan took a rest and the piece was bravely presented in trio format under the direction of Leszek. It’s actually good that such a concert took place during the festival, because Poles love their legends and showed it with appropriate ovations. At the same time, this performance underlined the great variety of the festival’s dramaturgy.
Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski Quartet, Enter Enea Festival Poznan, 7.6.2023
The final performance of the festival programme was the first Polish concert of the Connie Han Trio, featuring music from her latest album Secrets of Inanna, where she speaks in the voice of the ancient goddess of love, beauty and war, who was a model of femininity, grace and serenity. In Connie’s words, „This multi-faceted goddess was confident in her unabashed pride, sexual outbursts and sass. Combative and sassy, Inanna would stop at nothing to achieve her goals as a passionate woman with an iron character and an insatiable lust for power.“ Connie adapted her extravagant outfits, which she somewhat exaggerated, to her intention of presenting Inanna in concert. The trio of Connie Han – piano, Bill Wysaske – drums, and Ryan Berg – bass performed a strange music reminiscent of McCoy Tyner that was far from the expected climax of an evening full of jazz energy. The lukewarm applause somewhat out of obligation was a clear assessment of their efforts.
Michal Kratochvíl: Connie Han and her trio presented the opposite concert approach and played only her own compositions in the modern sounding guise of a piano trio. At the concert, she first paid tribute to McCoy Tyner with For the O.G. and then introduced her current album Secrets of Inanna, inspired by the Mesopotamian goddess of love, beauty, sex, justice and political power. Between songs, however, she was rather lengthy in explaining stories about Inanna and did not win my sympathy with her detached delivery. In the end, she didn’t even make up for it with the music, which was extremely fluffy and the trio didn’t take away from the intensity throughout the show, but that was the biggest problem with the whole performance. After a few songs I had the feeling that I was listening to the same thing over and over again and would have appreciated more variety and dynamics in the repertoire.
Connie Han Trio, Enter Enea Festival Poznan, 7.6.2023
Michal Sýkora: Overall, I have nothing but praise for the 13th Enter Enea Festival, which brought a very interesting and varied programme of many top musicians from Poland and various parts of the world and expanded our musical horizons. Leszek Możdżer, performing every night with someone different, deserves a lot of credit for that. Such an artistic director must be worn on hands in Poznan. Keep it up!
Michal Kratochvíl. I am curious to see where the festival will develop next, as the current venue is clearly already at the limit of its capacity. If somehow the unfortunate arrangement of benches in front of the stage could be better solved, the festival would actually be perfect!