Joachim Mencel – pianist, composer, music producer, precursor of the performance of contemporary jazz on the hurdy-gurdy (vielle à roue), PhD associate professor at the Krzysztof Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow, decorated, among others, with the Silver Cross of Merit and the Bronze Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, called the “romantic of Polish jazz pianism”
He graduated from the Jazz and Popular Music Department of the Academy of Music in Katowice. He played, among others in the bands of Janusz Muniak (CD “Contemplation”), Andrzej Cudzich (CD “Simple Way”) and Nigel Kennedy. He regularly collaborates with the American clarinetist Brad Terry (albums “All about spring”, “Colorado”, “Live in Fort Andross”). A respected arranger of vocal music, he wrote and arranged songs for Ewa Bem (all songs on the album “Kakadu”), Mieczysław Szcześniak, Anna Maria Jopek or the bands New Life and El Greco. Mencel is the author of a jazz cantata for choir, orchestra and soloists “Love Explained Everything to Me”, as well as music for films, ballet spectacles and pantomime.
Joachim Mencel has performed in many countries in Europe, America, Africa and Asia, including with the original project jmTrio (CD “Interludium”). In addition, he collaborated with many respected musicians, among them were, among others. Lee Konitz, Dino Saluzzi, Richard Galliano, Dave Liebman, David Friedman, Eddie Henderson, Ronnie Burrage, Charlie Mariano, Rufus Reid, Terry Clarke, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Vitold Rek, Jarosław Śmietana.
In April 2019 in New York, Joachim Mencel recorded music for the album “Brooklyn Eye”, which was released on the American label Origin Records. The leader’s own compositions were played by outstanding musicians whom Mencel appreciates and admires for many years: Steve Cardenas, Scott Colley and Rudy Royston. In 2022 he toured in USA with his quartet playing music from that album.
Currently, he performs solo on piano and hurdy-gurdy, in duo with saxophonist Leszek Żądło and also with his quintet, with which he performs his own compositions inspired by folk dances. In 2018, the For Tune label released an album with this material called “Artisena”.