Rafal Sarnecki

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Rafał Sarnecki - jazz guitarist, composer, arranger born in 1982 in Warsaw, Poland. He started playing guitar at the age of 12. In 2002 Rafal graduated with distinction from the Krzysztof Komeda School of Music in Warsaw and begun studying in the jazz program of the Fryderyk Chopin School of Music. He started to gain recognition in Europe after his success at the International Jazz Guitar Competition - Guitar City 2002 in Warsaw where he got the 1st award.

Besides playing the guitar Rafal was always very passionate about physics. He was also successful in that field since early high school. In 2000 he won the 1st prize in Poland at the 49th Physics Olympiad for high school students and he represented Poland at the 30th International Physics Olympiad in Leicester, UK. In the same year he began studying physics at Warsaw University. In 2005 Rafal graduated from Warsaw University with Academic Honors and recived a MS degree in physics. In the same year he graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin School of Music.

In the mean time, Rafal received a scholarship at the prestigious Jazz and Contemporary Music Program in The New School University in New York. In September 2005 he went to USA to study at The New School. In December 2008 he graduated from the New School with Academic Honors and he decided to continue his education at the graduate jazz program in the Aaron Copland School of Music. In New York Rafal studied with some of the best jazz musicians on the New York scene, such as: Paul Bollenback, Buster Williams, Peter Bernstein, Reggie Workman, John Hicks, Adam Nussbaum, Ari Hoenig, Ben Street. In 2015, while staying in the US, he received a Ph.D. in composition from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw.

Living in the Big Apple Rafal is currently involved in a variety of musical projects such as: Lucas Pino No Net Nonet, Annie Chen Group and David Bertrand Quartet. He performed in some of the renowned New York clubs including Dizzy's Club at Lincoln Center, Smalls, Kitano and Smoke. In 2008 he started his own sextet which features some of the top New York musicians: Lucas Pino (ts), Bogna Kicinska (voice), Glenn Zaleski (p), Rick Rosato (b) and Colin Stranahan (d). As a leader of his own jazz projects Rafal has performed in jazz clubs and festivals in China, Malaysia, Korea, Israel, Chile, the East and West Coast of the US and many European countries. Festival appearances include: Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York, Jarasum International Jazz Festival in South Korea, All Souls Jazz Festival in Chicago, South by South West Festival in Houston to list a few. 

Besides his career in New York Rafal is still active on the European music scene. In January 2007 he started his European quartet with some of the most renowned Polish jazz musicians: Pawel Kaczmarczyk on piano, Wojciech Pulcyn on bass, and Lukasz Zyta on drums. In January 2008 the group recorded their first CD, called Songs From a New Place. In addition to his improvisational abilities, the album showcases Rafal's original compositions. The CD was released by the Arms Records label in October 2008. In February 2009 it was nominated to the FRYDERYK 2009 award, the Polish equivalent of a Grammy.

In January 2010 Rafal recorded his second CD featuring his European group. The album was released in February 2011 by Fresh Sound New Talent label. Dave Sumner from All About Jazz selected the record as among the 12 most interesting jazz releases of 2011 in the Editor’s Choice section. In Spring 2013 in New York Rafal recorded his 3rd CD. The new album Cat's Dream features his American sextet and was released in August 2014 on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records.



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