From the pictures of Anna Maria Jopek on the Web, you’d have thought she is a glamour model. Her hair is the colour of sun-ripened wheat, her eyes shine cornflower blue, and her feminine curves would grace the cover of any glossy magazine. But AMJ is not known primarily for her looks. She is a celebrated singer, composer and pianist. Of the twelve solo albums she has released, six have reached the top 5 in the album charts of her native Poland, and all four of her album collaborations have been certified platinum in that country.
Having graduated from the Frederick Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and studied at the faculty of jazz in the Manhattan School of Music, New York, Anna Maria achieved a modicum of fame in 1997 when she represented Poland in the Eurovision contest. Her entry was called Ale Jestem (“But I Am”) and it came 11th, but the album of the same name won the Polish equivalent of a Grammy. Since then, Anna has won a number of other awards and made a name for herself in the jazz world.
AMJ doesn’t like to be labelled as just a jazz musician. Her compositions also draw on pop and folk styles, and she has both acted in and composed music for films and TV series. Nevertheless, she is best known for her collaborations with artists such as Pat Metheny and Branford Marsalis. Here’s a live version of Are You Going With Me? from her “With Friends” concert in Warsaw, on 9th December 2002.
And here are a couple of shorter, more lyrical pieces from the Anna Maria Jopek/Branford Marsalis album, Ulotne (“Elusive”).
There’s a glamorous portrait of AMJ on the home page of her website, but not a lot more information about her. For a more complete biography, I recommend the culture.pl website. And there’s plenty of Anna Maria’s music on the usual streaming sites.