Marcin Olak is one the most interesting Polish jazz guitar players. He is one of the few who can play modern jazz on classical and acoustic guitars, using the specific sound and articulation possibilities of those instruments*; sometimes he also plays electric guitar. He moves between various styles: jazz, classical and contemporary pieces, from fully composed pieces to improvised music. Marcin Olak performs solo and with various bands: from free-jazz combos, through classical guitar ensambles, to the symphony orchestra. Marcin is also appreciated as an arranger and composer: he writes chamber music and concertos, jazz themes and songs.
Marcin graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin’s Academy of Music in Warsaw (PL) in classical guitar. He took part in numerous master classes with classical guitarists (like Roberto Aussel and Jorge Cardoso) and jazz performers (like Ralph Towner and Scott Henderson). Marcin Olak played at some of the most important polish guitar and jazz festivals, such as: Warsaw Summer Jazz Days (2013, 2008), Warsaw Autumn (2007, 2009), Jazz na Buduku (2006, 2008, 2012), Jazz w Ruinach (2007), Guitar City (2005, 2008), Jazz Juniors (2005), Warsaw Underground Jazz (2003) and many more. The Warsaw Guitar Festival in 2008 and 2013 seem particularly worth mentioning, as Marcin’s own concertos for jazz guitar trio and orchestra (2008) and for two guitars and strings (2013) were performed there for the first time. Marcin played on the most important stages in Poland, including the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw and the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio. He has recorded for Polish radio and TV on numerous occasions. He doesn’t avoid jazz clubs though.
Marcin’s musical skills are widely appreciated among polish guitarists. Therefore he has been asked to write a series of lessons on jazz improvisation and harmony for one of the most important Polish guitar magazines, Top Guitar.
Marcin Olak Trio, Crossing Borders (Luna Music, 2012)
Marcin Olak Trio, Simple Joy (4Ever Music, 2008)
Polish Jazz 2007 (Polonia Records, 2008)
Marcin Olak Trio, Zealot (J3.16, 2005)
Marcin Olak Trio is an exciting, new jazz group from Poland. The music – mostly Marcin’s own compositions – can be placed somewhere between jazz and contemporary chamber music. It focuses around the sound of acoustic and classical guitar, complemented by double-bass and prepared drums. It’s worth pointing out that the Marcin Olak Trio is one of the few jazz bands in the world (!) with classical and acoustic guitars as the lead instruments. Electronic instruments are not used. Every sound is natural and the musicians become the only source of energy on stage.
The Trio played at some of the most important Polish jazz festivals, including: FRE3 JAZZ DAYS (2012), Warsaw Summer Jazz Days (2013, 2008 – this concert was recorded by Polish TV, TVP Kultura), Guitar City (2005, 2008), Jazz na Buduku (2006, 2008, 2012), Jazz w Ruinach (2007), Jazz Juniors (2005), Warsaw Underground Jazz (2003) etc. One of the most interesting events in recent years took place at the Warsaw Guitar Festival (2008), when Marcin’s concerto for jazz trio and symphony orchestra.
In October 2012, the third album by Marcin Olak Trio, „Crossing Borders”, was released. Recorded music is an original blend of contemporary chamber music and jazz. The album contains twelve tracks: in addition to Olak’s compositions three pieces by Witold Lutosławski (in Marcin Olak’s arrangements) were recorded.
*[Usually guitar in jazz guitar is treated linearly. Most guitarists play with a pick, and are thus able to play a single note melody or chords. Marcin Olak – with his classical guitarist background – plays differently. He creates a multilevel, complex textures, using the specific sound and articulation possibilities of his guitars, as it is in the European guitar tradition. And that’s not the end of surprises…]