Polish jazz pioneer passes away aged 93

Jerzy “Duduś” Matuszkiewicz, a jazz musician, saxophonist and composer of music for TV series and films from the communist era has passed away at the age of 93. The news of his death was announced by his manager.

Jerzy Matuszkiewicz was born in 1928 in Jasło, south-eastern Poland. At the mere age of 20, he founded the "Jazz Club" at the Kraków branch of the YMCA.

Soon thereafter, he formed “Melomani,” one of the first Polish jazz bands. During Stalinism age, the communist government of the Polish People’s Republic banned jazz music as it viewed this music genre “as part decadent American culture.”

In 1965, he started a long and successful career in the production of music for TV-series, movies and commercials.

In 1997, Matuszkiewicz was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, a state order given for outstanding achievements in the fields of education, science, sport, culture, art, economics, national defense, social work, civil service, or for furthering good relations between countries.

In 2006, the saxophonist received the Gold Helikon medal of the Krakow “Jazz Club” and the statuette of the Jazz Lamb “Piwnica pod Baranami”. He received a Life Achievement Award at the Polish Film Awards gala in May this year.