Quite simply, Wacław Zimpel is one of the most original and unique talents to have emerged from Poland this side of the Millennium. A multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer of rare distinction, music has flowed through and from him since an early age. Inspired as much by jazz as he is by electronics, minimalism and roots music from across the world, Wacław Zimpel doesn’t so much blur boundaries as eradicate them altogether to create a whole new musical language.
Born and raised in Poznań, his earliest musical memories are of his father playing the piano. Taking up the violin at the age of six, Wacław Zimpel cast aside the frustrations of formal music lessons by finding salvation in jazz, the harmonica and a burning desire to improvise.
His mastery of woodwind instrumentation including the clarinet and the khaen – a proto-harmonica from Laos – has reached world-class levels. A naturally curious musician who refuses to be boxed in, Wacław Zimpel has also applied the endless possibilities of electronics and loops to his oeuvre and, as displayed by his growing catalogue of music, is signposting the way for future generations.
His solo work includes the stunning and critically acclaimed album ‘Lines’. Described by The Quietus as “a spectacular statement”, the album found Wacław Zimpel joining an impressive lineage that comprises not only pioneers such as Terry Riley and LaMonte Young, but also jazz musicians such as John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman.
Wacław Zimpel has also made an indelible mark as a collaborator. His Saagara project has seen him successfully bring together the seemingly disparate disciplines of western jazz and Indian raga music across two stunning albums, the eponymous debut and its follow-up, ‘2’. A third album is now in the works.
His most successful partnering has been with fellow Pole and musical explorer Kuba Ziołek. Their performance at the 2016 OFF Festival in Katowice, Poland, led to the recording of the stunning ‘Zimpel/Ziołek’, an album that has transcended borders to find the pair reaching an ever-growing audience. Using the touchstones of Popol Vuh, Roy Harper, Moondog and even early Pink Floyd as a launch pad, the pair are reaching for the stars and holding them.
Working with drummer Hubert Zemler and pianist Krzysztof Dys, Wacław Zimpel formed LAM, an improvisational trio whose eponymous debut album successfully bridges the gap between minimalism and trance music.
Wacław Zimpel has also worked closely with contemporary/free jazz players Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake, Joe PcPhee, famed composer, clarinetist anbd Grammy award winner Evan Ziporyn, techno producer Rabih Beaini, drum legend Trilok Gurtu and the master of Gnawa music Maallem Mokhtar Gania.
Wacław Zimpel’s international profile has been steadily rising. Having won over domestic crowds at festivals such as OFF, Unsound and Tauron Nowa Muzyka Katowice, he’s also thrilled international audiences at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Rewire Festival and the Mutek and Suoni Per il Popolo festivals in Montreal, as well as delivering one of the standout performances with Kuba Ziołek at the Rocket Recordings 20 festival in London.