Jazz is freedom – Vladyslav “Adzik” Sendecki

Vladyslav “Adzik” Sendecki
Vladyslav “Adzik” Sendecki

Vladyslav (Władysław) “Adzik” Sendecki was born on 17/1/1955 in Gorlice, the second of three children to Stefan and Irena Sendecki. His parents met in Kraków, where Stefan Sendecki was studying law and journalism. After they married, his parents lived in Gorlice. There, his father was head of the personnel department of the “Forest” factory. Their large house on Garncarska street (today: Stawiska street) had already been owned by the family before the war. 


A liberal and musical home

After work, Adzik’s father, Stefan Sendecki, often played at dance evenings, which at that time were highly popular. Everyone in the family made music, from his grandparents and parents to aunts and uncles... At home, they mainly played classical music. Adzik’s younger sister, Jadwiga, completed a degree in vocal performance at the Academy of Music in Katowice (Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Muzyczna w Katowicach), now the Karol Szymanowski Music Academy Katowice. His older brother Stefan attended the Lyceum of Fine Arts in Kraków, while at the same time studying clarinet at a secondary school for music. His family were very interested in the arts and valued them highly. As was common during the 1950s and 60s, the Sendeckis possessed hardly any records; instead, they had a large amount of sheet music, including unusual musical genres. Adzik’s open-minded father was interested in various different trends in music. When he thinks back to his childhood, Adzik also remembers his close relationship with nature, the forests and the wonderful atmosphere of the natural world.

He began learning piano aged four. His father was his first teacher. It soon emerged that he had perfect pitch. Until he was eleven, he was given private lessons by Ms. Szotelowa, a pupil of Professor Zbigniew Drzewiecki, and successfully participated in regional music competitions. At age eleven, he took part in a private audition before Professor Schejbal and Professor Helena Szkielska, the Director of the primary school of music and the music lyceum in Kraków. A few days later, he enrolled in the piano class taught by Helena Szkielska at the former Fryderyk Chopin music school in Basztowa street. Later, he attended the music lyceum. He spent the first year, aged eleven, living with his uncle in Kraków; later, he went to live with his grandmother’s sister. During his time as a pupil in Kraków, he received intensive tuition. His entire manual system was changed, and he developed his own, unique sound.


The beginnings of jazz

While he was studying at the lyceum, after eight hours of piano lessons, Adzik would spend the evenings at the “Klub pod Jaszczurami” (“Under the Lizards Club”) on the main square, where he would continue playing. It was there, during the jam sessions, that he took his first steps as a jazz musician. In 1967, he came into contact with jazz by accident. He was watching a television broadcast of the “Jazz Jamboree” festival in Warsaw with his brother – now a composer and also a pianist – when he was astonished to see Roland Kirk playing three saxophones at the same time. He was fascinated by the creativity and imagination, the boundless freedom and breaking of conventions. Sendecki may have come to jazz via classical music, but in an interview with Porta Polonica, he stressed that for him, classical music was akin to improvised music. He always strove to understand classical music on an emotional level, and not simply to learn scores and standard ways of interpretation by heart. When playing classical works, he often entered such a “jazz-like”, even almost hypnotic, state. He stresses that for him, jazz is far more than just a genre. It is freedom, and also a form of togetherness. If you stand at the front and need to act in a provocative way, then that’s the way it is. However, if you’re at the back, you’re supporting the people who are in front. Then there’s swing – to be understood not just as a musical style – and rhythm. Everything needs to dance, has its own groove and a certain expression.

He remembers a jazz concert, the “Floriance” in the assembly hall of the music school, where Zbigniew Seifert, Janusz M. Stefański and others played. It was one of their first concerts together. Adzik had bought a ticket for the afternoon concert, but once he arrived, it turned out that he was the sole member of the audience. At that time, he was 14 or 15. The musicians played as though the hall was full! When it grew dark, candles were lit. Many years later, after he had emigrated, Adzik and Janusz M. Stefański, who is ten years older, sometimes reminisced about this first meeting. 


Media library
  • My Polish Heart

    Concert at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg on 24 November 2018, Vladyslav Sendecki with the NDR Bigband © NDR Bigband
  • New York Streets

    From the album "solace", Sendecki & Spiegel, 2022 © Vladyslav Sendecki
  • solace

    From the album "solace", Sendecki & Spiegel, 2022 © Music: Vladyslav Sendecki | Video: Steven Haberland