I spent Shabbat in Kracow. Historic sites, cafes, etc. Went to services in a 2 different, old and now restored synagogues, one being the famous Roma synagogue and the other, the main temple next to the brand new JCC. The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich led the services and we all celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of Mizrachi Pash, the son of Boaz Pash who is the rabbi of Kracow.
The people of Kracow are genuinely interested and respectful of the Jewish history there. It's everywhere and they are proud of it. I stayed in the Klezmer Hotel which had an old world personality to it and featured a great Klezmer band in the evening. It's also the major hang of klezmer music icon Leopold Kozlowski (The Last Klezmer), whom I met and sat with in the hotel restaurant where there are pictures of him with celebrities all over the walls. He gave me a DVD of one of his concerts and I gave him "Fringe Of Blue."
Last night I played in Warsaw at a big Chanukah event. DJs, VJs,... cool space... actually freezing space! Shared the stage with DJ Krzaku (pronounced "Kshak") from Warsaw who composed some of the most clever and innovative arrangements of music I have heard anywhere. These days, I'm finding more and more musical talent in the DJ world than in the traditional musician world. Years ago, DJs mainly spun records. Now many are like musicians and often, just as creative. DJ Krzaku from last night mixed vocal tracks, grooves, horn lines, and sound effects to create his own material and this is something DJs have been doing for a while now. I'm amazing at how good some of them are. The accessibility and manipulation of digital audio on computers has made it possible for more people to be creative in a recording environment and DJs, many of whom have a musical ear to begin, are now quite inventive, creating their own music.
Every now and then, something small, out of left field brings about a major change. Before Hendrix, electric guitar players avoided distortion from their amps. With Hendrix in the 60s, it was "damn the torpedoes, let's turn everything up and have some fun with it." It revolutionized the guitar world and with that, pop music. The evolution of the instrument at that moment took a jump.
Sometimes it takes some fresh creativity without the bias of what has come before to bring about real change. That's one of the reasons why DJs are making a such a substantial, creative contribution to music now. Their perspective is totally different and therefor can have a fresh outlook on creating music.