On September 17, 2021, Paweł Tartanus, singer, banjoist and guitarist died in Warsaw after a long illness.
One of the leaders of traditional jazz in Poland, his professional career spanned almost 50 years. Pawal was a charismatic singer with a strong, expressive voice, singing in the style of Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima. In any ensemble he provided reliable timing, giving the band strong rhythmic and harmonic support. He played guitar in various smaller ensembles and from 1977 was part of the venerable Swing Workshop band. He was a natural showman, a cheerful person, gifted with an extraordinary sense of humor.
He began his adventure with traditional jazz in 1972, playing in the Warsaw based Gold Washboard band, with which he achieved his first success, winning the Złota Tarka at the Old Jazz Meeting festival in 1974. The bands he played with included Swing Workshop, Hagaw, Prowizorka Jazz Band, Jazz Makers, and Old Timers. He performed in duets with Ewa Bem, Hanna Banaszak and Iza Zając. Together with Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski, he created the surprising Ultraditional Duo Tartanus-Wróblewski (a perfect combination of a smile and a pinch of salt with top-flight art, carefully arranged standards with a huge load of musical jokes, happy jazz in its purest, clearest form). He occasionally performed solo, singing along with himself on the guitar.
He was repeatedly invited to record children’s film songs by the W. Disney label, incl. “Gershwin Copland Bernstein” with the Sinfonia Varsovia ensemble. -Adapted from a Polish language remembrance published in Europe’s Jazz Forum magazine.