Jaroslaw (Jarek) Smietana was born March 29, 1951 in Krakow, Poland. Jazz guitarist, composer and teacher. A graduate of Jazz and Popular Music faculty at The Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice (Panstwowa Wyzsza Szkola Muzyczna w Katowicach).
During his successful career, Jarek Smietana has always been very active on the Polish Jazz scene. He was a leader of many groups, including ‘Hall’, 'Extra Ball', 'Sounds', 'Symphonic Sound Orchestra', and 'Polish Jazz Stars Band’. He had a series of very successful cooperation with other leaders such as Zbigniew Namyslowski, Slawomir Kulpowicz, Jan 'Ptaszyn' Wroblewski, Henryk Majewski, Piotr Wojtasik
, and Wojciech Karolak
. He collaborated with Zbigniew Seifert, Art Farmer
, John Abercrombie
, Nigel Kennedy
, Davem Friedman, Joe Zawinul
, and many others.
Smietana's ground breaking 2004 album The Story of Polish Jazz
, included first Polish Jazz rap, with lyrics co-written by Smietana himself and drummer Jacek Pelc. This album is a tribute to the greatest players and sonic journey into the history of Polish Jazz. His latest projects included albums with Smietana's take on music by some of his favorites: Jimi Hendrix
, Ornette Coleman
, Zbigniew Seifert and The Beatles
Leszek Kotarski wrote about Smietana at the Jazz Forum
: All the notes fall naturally into place. Never garrulous or merely exhibitionistic, it is a jazz concert of the highest caliber. Each phrase is swinging and is full of drive and feeling. In brief, that is how you can describe the music of Jarek Smietana, one of the most outstanding Polish jazz musicians. He has created his own music style and individual sound, always personal yet constantly communicative. His first priority is the highest possible artistic level".
Jarek Smietana passed away on September 2, 2013, after losing a prolonged fight with brain tumor. He was 62 years old.