Introducing Jazz Jam All-Star Iga Mrozek

Iga Mrozek – one of this coming Sunday’s Jazz Jam All-Stars performers, is best described as an old soul and musical maven.

Raised in the dazzling city of New Orleans, she cultivated her love of local styles and rhythms while steeping herself in the unique culture and traditions of Southern Louisiana. Over the years gospel, R&B, soul, blues, funk, bluegrass, and jazz wove themselves into the eclectic tapestry of her musical identity. Happily residing in Jackson Heights, Queens, Iga feeds her passions by playing piano and guitar, singing, writing, and keeping her ears open.

She seeks to understand the world through her heart. She loves the ocean and the quiet hours after sunrise. She takes milk in her tea. The amazing people she is lucky to call friends are her life force and strength.

You can purchase tickets to the concert – which starts at 7:30 PM – here.

Tell us about you – how you started as a performer/artist?

I was always drawn to music. From a young age, it seemed like the highest form of communication to me. A pivotal moment in my journey to becoming a musician was my sophomore year of college. I took a music theory course for fun and that led to the decision to switch my major. A couple of years after that I met Pamela Pentony, the jazz vocal teacher at Bard. She insisted that anyone could sing and that I should take her class. That’s when I started singing. I think I had always wanted to, but I didn’t believe I could. I believed some people were blessed with that gift and some weren’t and that I was in the latter camp. Pam changed my mind and opened up a world of joy for me.

Where did you grow up / where do you live?

I grew up in New Orleans. That is one of the greatest blessings of my life. There was live music everywhere all the time. I grew up in a social atmosphere of merrymaking and whimsy. My first memories of being overwhelmed by music are from church, but I have countless memories of live performances from my childhood. I feel very lucky in that regard.  

What do you hope audiences learn/discover/feel when they listen to your music?

 When I perform, my intention is to stay as open as possible so that this otherworldly thing known as music can come through me in whatever way feels right. I want to give those listening the chance to delve into the emotions of the song, but it starts with a shared moment. There is an intimacy that I cherish that comes from my relationship to the music/lyrics, my connection to whoever is listening or playing it with me, the ties we all have to each other in that instant, and the kinship we have to those who have come before us and left their legacy for us to learn from and build upon. I try to honor and be conscious of these elements whenever I play. A melody can break your heart or make you fall in love and do a thousand other things in between. It can change your life in a second. The power of music is limitless and above all, I hope I can serve as a reminder of that and inspire others to appreciate their own boundless power so we can heal the world.

What does Flushing Town Hall mean to you?

Flushing Town Hall is near and dear to my heart. It was the first place I began performing in New York City. The welcoming atmosphere created by Carol and the house band and the people who come regularly reminded me of where I came from. It is a hidden treasure. Its existence has created a beautiful community that often feels like a family. I always feel at home there, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to grow and develop among such skilled and immensely kind artists.

When did you first start attending the Jazz Jams, and what do you like about them?

 My first jam was in May of 2017. I had heard about it through a friend and I didn’t know what to expect. I absolutely loved the space. It felt like church. And I remember I was so thrilled it was being run by a woman! I was blown away by the level of talent in the room and how nice everyone was. I was looking for a place just like that to try things out. The art on the walls is also a special detail. The changing exhibitions make it feel like a fresh space each time. This amazing environment has been instrumental in me flowering into the musician I am today.

What is on the horizon for you?

Right now I’m exploring more than anything. I’m currently diving into bossa nova and samba styles on guitar, writing my own songs, expanding my ideas about what music is and what it can be, and casually playing with friends. I’m also taking advantage of summer and seeing a lot of live music which always deeply inspires me. It’s a constant wondrous evolution. I’m letting my ear and happenstance lead me places while I build a repertoire of personally meaningful songs. We’ll see what comes out of it. I’m sure I’ll be just as surprised as anyone else. That’s half the fun!

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