My Favorite Chicago Jazz Cats: Grazyna Auguscik

My Favorite Chicago Jazz Cats: Grazyna Auguscik

It’s not fair to just call Grazyna Auguscik a jazz musician because she sings so much more than just jazz. Her styles include music from her native Poland, her longtime project of Two from Brazil with Paulinho Garcia and even folk music.

It would be probably more accurate to call her a world musician for she has played throughout the world and sings from so many styles.
Originally from Poland, educated at the esteemed Berklee School of Music in Boston and now a resident of Chicago for over two decades, Grazyna is truly a working Chicago musician.

I first heard about her after the release of her acclaimed CD “River” in 2002 and she supported that with a performance at the Chicago Jazz Festival. She couldn’t have been more professional on stage or personal for she signed CDs after the show for many of us.

She has done both traditional jazz CD’s like 1998’s “Pastels” which she has beautiful, light covers of many jazz standards. She evolved with her next work “Don’t Let Me Go”, with upbeat world influenced jazz and then got a little deeper with the previously mentioned “River”. She stepped even further on the next CD “Past Forward” and has yet to slow down in recordings or improvising her style.

In the midst of that were several traditional Polish CD’s including one of traditional Christmas songs.

She’s a musician that each of her CDs you hear more influences, she grows as an artist, her material never stays the same and is constantly better but even has more edge to it. But even with an edge and a rock tinge to it, its still beautiful and her voice soars.

But to listen to Grazyna is to see her in concert and she gigs constantly. She had a long running gig at Katerina’s in Old Irving (that ended last June), and has played the Chicago Jazz Fest several times.

But it was her gigs at Millennium Park that started a decade ago (Past Forward), that really show her range. Unfortunately it rained that first evening but the show went on and her loyal legion of fans weathered through it. Some of us huddled in the hallway near the restroom to hear her, other braved the elements.

Every gig I’ve seen Grazyna, gives a great show, whether the formally mentioned Millennium Park or even intimate Café Lura on Milwaukee Ave. That’s when she’s in her element, the smaller night club style gigs. Her music will transport you to the style she is singing, so a cold Chicago night can become a warm Brazilian afternoon.
She has collaborated with a who’s who in Chicago jazz as well as other world artists including her native Krakow Klezmer Band featuring Jarek Bester on accordion. I mention that band because their style is in sync with Grazyna, its not genre definable. There is jazz in there, traditional polish music, folk music but its great and the audience is as diverse as the sound.

Grazyna is definitely an artist that you follow for you favorites from her but also to see what she will do next and she doesn’t disappoint.

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