is one of Britains few authentic voices on saxophone"
News and Record Review
Kopinski is a tenor saxist and composer, fronting cross-genre music,
ranging from Free-funk to contemporary European jazz.
A saxophonist for over thirty years in the UK, Jan specializes in improvisational
music drawing on jazz and influences from Eastern Europe and contemporary music.
For 25 years he has led a successful contemporary jazz group, PINSKI
regularly touring the UK, Europe, New York and Poland, playing at major jazz
festivals, concerts and jazz clubs to critical acclaim. He travels regularly
to Poland, for both research and touring projects –including international
With REFLEKTOR he composes and performs to silent films
and to projected visuals,
most recently MIRRORS,
a dream journey with Polish imagery, commissioned by Opera North. He has recorded
several radio and TV broadcasts, 13 albums on various record labels, including
live recordings from concerts in Poland, Austria, New York and UK. His numerous
projects include PINSKI ZOO, MIRRORS REFLEKTOR
LIVE SOUNDTRACKS to film, KOPINSKI & KONIKIEWICZ GHOSTMUSIC PINSKI
ZOO 7, PZBASSCORP, JAN KOPINSKI QUARTET, MUSTARD PIE.
has toured extensively in the UK as well as Poland, Germany, Switzerland,
Holland, Belgium, France, Austria, Italy, Norway and New York; he has
also recorded various sessions for radio, fillm and
TV. His RECORDINGS, (13 albums and 2 singles)
include, - MIRRORS PINSKI
ZOO EARTH ZONE
K GHOST MUSIC
is a singular musician who has followed a personal path, in a search
of an expressive sax sound earning him a reputation as a true original.
He was studying
Fine Art at Art College and came under the spell of John Coltranes "My
Favourite Things" epic
recording in the mid sixties and Jan took up saxophone seriously. First
on a white Grafton acrylic alto then on soprano and tenor. . In 1980, with
co-founder keyboard player Steve Iliffe, they formed the almost legendary PINSKI
" ...a compelling power unique in English Jazz" - The
catching the attention of, firstly the rock press (NME) they released
their first album on Jan and Steves label, Dug-Out Records, in
1980 - "Introduce Me to the Doctor".
Recognition in the Indie Charts and a distribution deal with Rough Trade
Records led them to further recordings , "The
City Cant Have it Back", "The
Dizzy Dance Record" (with famous dub producer Adrian Sherwood)
and Speak and a couple
Jan set up several tours of Poland with friends in the strict but lively
jazz scene of the mid eighties, winning Individual prizewinner at Jazz
All the while Jan was exploring his interest in not only Coltrane, Shepp
and Ornette but the hovering energy of contemporary Polish composers
like Penderecki and east European folk music. The band was uncategorizable.
a maelstrom of sound, other times a hypnotic theme over backbeats.They
were labelled Free Funk Jazz / Punk Jazz / Outfunk jazz, etc
many see their influence upon the eclectic hybrid bands of today.
felt an endorsement for his style whilst supporting Ornette Coleman
and Prime Time and his harmolodic form of jazz, with its scattershot
harmonic-rhythm-melody. Now managed and recording for Jazz Café Records
they recorded 2 CDs -
"Rare Breeds" and
the highly acclaimed "East Rail East".PINSKI
a dominant force in the London jazz fused scene of the late 80s & 90s.
In 1991 at the Cannes Midem Festival PINSKI ZOO was
voted "Best Band" at the British International Jazz Awards.
Further European tours followed, a stint at New Yorks Knitting Factory
and a British Council tour of Poland and a CD in 1994 on Slam Records, "De-Icer",
with live tracks from Europe and New York.In
2007 PINSKI ZOO released a definitive live double
album AFTER IMAGE (see PINSKI
ZOO and PRESS for pics &reviews) and
a new generation is finding a link between PZ's power fusion and mashing
up of style in favour of expression.
Zoo are still out there and still on cracking form. Organic,
no-surrender, spiritually uplifting music, After Image is
probably the best album the band has released to date. After
25 years at the barricades, that's an astonishing achievement". Chris
was also following his interest in contemporary composition and folk
music and in 1990 was rewarded with a commission from Nottingham New
Arts Works - "Music In Missing Places"- setting PINSKI
ZOO in a line up including viola, cello and additional sax.
Other projects included solo performance at the Bergen Contemporary Music Festival
and various soundtracks for film broadcast on Channel 4 and BBC
Offshoots of the original band were inevitable and Jan explored a texture of
sampled and digital textures with Iliffes keys and a twin bass rhythm section
initially trained as a Fine Artist, Jan still has a strong interest in visual
work and collaborated on a commission with film maker Frank Abbott on a 90
minute multi image thriller - DRIVE ME CRAZY - for
which Jan wrote the music performing with Iliffe and vocalist Melanie Pappenheim
at Shots In the Dark Festival 1996 and touring the
worked on a special project for his next CD, "Jan
Kopinski GHOST MUSIC". on ASC Records which brought together
many of his works for visual imagery and gave expression to his research
in Poland. GHOST MUSIC featured his
son Stefan on bass, now a regular PINSKI ZOO member,as
well as his daughter, Janina, a classical viola player.
times it sounds like Headhunters meets free improvisation.
Terrific." - The Guardian.
Further works for visual images include the soundtrack for "Geometry
and Gravity" with film maker Tony Hill for Year of the Artist 2000
to write and perform the music for "Zemlya
a classic silent film from Ukrainian director Dovzhenko,
with Jan on sax, Steve Iliffe on keys, Janina Kopinska on viola and narration
by Yeva Paley/Oksana Tyminska. (resulting in the cd EARTH).
They perform in cinemas and Arts Centres throughout the UK..
"Kopinski has a sensitivity to visuals as reflected in other scores he's
performed for silent movies. And by using his own family in the band Kopinski
evokes the intimate, inexplicable binds/bonds of family life that are integral
to Dovzhenko's silent film...; he evokes Slav folk music, melancholic and lost
to an irrecoverable past," JAZZWISE
research and touring in Poland led Jan to set up an anglo/Polish trio KOPINSKI & KONIKIEWICZ,
with Polish composer pianist Wojciech Konikiewicz and former PZ drummer
Steve Harris, recording a cd ZONE K.
trio’s sound is vast, dominated by Kopinski’s declamatory,
occasionally banshee, saxophone" Jazz
K includes drummer Pat Illingworth and Jan and Wojciech perform regularly
in Poland in duo trio and quartet form.
Jan's recent music to visual project, collaborating with video artist
Jim Boxall to utilize the visual footage that Jan has collected over
20 yrs of visitng Poland and commissioned by Opera North to compose new
work for six piece and video projections. This is a major project featuring
Jan's original compositions, derived from his interest in Polish music
and film. It is a culmination of Jan's personal interests in musical
forms and cultural influences. And it reveals the imagery that sometimes
inspires his music. Jan performs MIRRORS with
his flexible group of musicians and artists, REFLEKTOR -
specialising in music to visual imagery. "MIRRORS-JanKopinski'sReflektor" is
a CD recording of the music -his latest album released on 33 Records
idea of identity is central to the visuals and the music, which
explores the mutualities between new thing-inspired, African-American
jazz and traditional Polish music. At around 74 minutes, the
Mirrors CD has to stand up without the lavish projected backdrop
- and it succeeds, brilliantly".allaboutjazz.com
also plays in the duo form of REFLEKTOR with
Steve Iliffe to silent film - from the movingly intense "Zemlya
(EARTH)", and classic horror NOSFERATU ,
to darevil comedy films by Harold LLoyd, SAFETY
projects include guest and solo appearances and MUSTARD
PIE a group combining
musicians from LED BIB and Polar Bear. a Polish quartet version of ZONE
K. Guest appearances with Tribute To Miles Orchestra
Zoo - Best Band (small group category), at the The British International
Jazz Awards, Cannes 1991.Individual Prizewinner at the Jazz Nad Odra
Festival , Poland 1985.Various awards for research and development, recording
and touring in the UK, Europe and Poland from the British Council, Arts
Council of England, & Jazz Services. In between touring and work
also is an educationalist, lecturing part-time in Universities, running
workshops, masterclasses, private tuition, and has been Artist in Residence
at Leeds College of Music and Research Fellow at University of Salford.
is available for concerts with PINSKI ZOO ZONE
K MIRRORS REFLEKTOR "Zemlya
(Earth)" and solo gigs.