Having previously visited Tallinn and Budapest, I thought I'd add Krakow to my portfolio, especially as the Summer Jazz Festival was on. I got to see the excellent guitarist Jarek Smietana at the Pod Baranami jazz club, and the Rashied Ali Quintet at Radio Krakow. The Ali band played pretty straight ahead freebop- band-members unknown to me apart from the bassist Joris Teepe. The front line was exciting if a little incoherent- I kept thinking of Lester's question: Can you play me a song? The last number they played was from The Wizard of Oz: If I Only Had a Brain (played with Giant Steps changes and renamed If I Only Had a Gig!)
Vinyl pickings were thin; before leaving I'd left a message on virtualtourist.com asking if anyone knew of vinyl shops there: no replies. I found one shop, with a few hunded lps of various kinds and a few cds locked away in a cupboard. I bought a few albums (of course) paying in most cases more than I should have done. Mostly US musicians recorded in Europe- festivals etc- and a nice Namyslowski record. They'll appear in the November listing (yes, the September & October lists are already full- the results of a very good collection I bought in Cardiff a few months ago.)
Piotr the shop owner was pessimistic about the Polish record industry: It's a mess! and characterised all the other record shops in town as 'rubbish', but Music Corner near the huge market square had a good collection of Polish jazz cds, including all the Komeda and Stanko albums I'd naively hoped to find on vinyl! (Piotr said he had some 'special records at home' but when he mentioned the price he wanted for them I decided not to take him up on his offer.)
So I was left with a few zlotys to spend on Bison Grass Vodka.