Testimonials

A few words to share...


"I first heard Lenny Gomulka's brilliance in the classic Eddie Blazonczyk recordings, "Pretty Marianne" and "My Mary Lou." The horn arrangements and performances were just mind-blowing and had a lot to do with helping me see the possibilities in polka music. The only thing about Lenny that seems bigger than his talent is his humility and I, for one, have been blessed to know him and learn from him. And, I'm flattered beyond words that he's been so supportive of Brave Combo as we've struggled to gain acceptance in the polka world. Here's to a great musician and friend. Viva Lenny Gomulka y los Push de Chicago!"

Carl Finch
Grammy Award Winning Brave Combo
Denton, Texas




"Back in 1967 we had the pleasure of meeting Lenny Gomulka. It has been an honor and pleasure knowing Lenny and his accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. It takes a lot of hard and dedicated work to write new tunes, arrange, record and perform. Lenny Gomulka is a musician's musician, admired and loved by all his polka fans. Here's to a great musician and friend, Na Zdrowie and Sto Lat! God Bless Lenny Gomulka, his family and the Chicago Push."

Happy Louie and Julcia
Polka Music Hall of Fame Inductee (1982)
2006 Citizen of the Year - PACC Ludlow, MA


 


Polka is a special music, and Lenny Gomulka is a special polka artist. He’s one of the key purveyors of the high energy “Chicago Push” Polish polka style (indeed, the South Side Chicago native’s band is called the Chicago Push), and he has musically distinguished the sound in performance and also lyrically with his defining original composition “Chicago Style Music.” But Lenny’s unique brand of polka is hardly limited to locale. Not only did he bring it with him when he relocated in Ludlow, Massachusetts in 1990, but he expressed his deep affection for his new home state in his warm friendship song “Say Hello to Someone in Massachusetts", adopted as the official polka of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1998. What a remarkable achievement for a Chicago boy who recorded his first album at age 12 and began recording with legends like Li’l Wally, Marion Lush and Eddie Blazonczyk Sr. only two years later. Of course, he’s long since joined the ranks of the polka greats, and is a proud inductee of the International Polka Hall of Fame. His music remains readily identifiable for its unique sensitivity and sentiment, thanks to his incredibly intricate arrangements and poignantly sweet melodies and vocals.

Jim Bessman, NYC
Billboard Magazine


 


Lenny Gomulka is truly one of the top musicians and icons in the polka field. Through his many talents, he has had a dramatic affect on polka music as we know it today. Lenny is a master of many instruments, an outstanding vocalist, creative composer, bandleader and polka promoter. Through his excellence in all of these areas he has impacted generations of polka musicians and fans and set a standard in polka music that most musicians and bandleaders strive to achieve. I think it would be hard to find a musician or band that hasn’t been impacted by Lenny and his music in some way. Lenny is able to blend the history of polka music, songs and styles that were popular years ago, along with songs that reflect today’s modern sound and arrangements. I have admired his talents and his accomplishments for years and have on occasion been able to share the stage with him. Each time I have been able to do this, it has been a memorable moment that remains with me to this day. Thanks Lenny for everything you have done and meant to the polka field.

Jimmy Weber
Polka Music Hall of Fame Inductee
Leader of the former Sounds from Pittsburgh


 


"Lenny Gomulka ranks among the best in the best field ... and that's saying a lot in a field that is filled with highly talented musicians. He and his Chicago Push have always been not only entertaining, but inventive, giving the polka a new, more modern image while still satisfying the tastes of polka purists. If polka music will survive and expand its base, as I believe it will, it will be because of dedicated musicians such as Lenny. Thank heaven that he decided to return to performing after a short-lived retirement from the field."

The Late T. Ron Jasinski-Herbert
Editor-in-Chief
Polonia Today




"Since 1980, Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push have been one of the most important polka bands in America. Lenny's top-notch trumpet playing, beautiful voice and creative songwriting have set a high standard for others to aspire to."

Barry N. Sher
Author, The Nostradamus Polka Page




"Knowning Lenny Gomulka since he was 12 years old he amazed me with how well he performed on the trumpet at that early age. I could tell then he was going to be someone very special. When Chicago Polka Great, Lil Wally relocated to Florida he would ask for backup when performing in Chicago. I remember playing Clubs on Division Street and at Chicago Nightspot, Lucy's Wisconsin Rendezvous with Lil Wally, Lenny, Wally Maduzia and what a band! Back then Lenny played trumpet, clarinet and concertina. Then when Lil Wally recorded his popular Bicentenial album in 1976, I called Lenny to help me out to finish the album. Wally wanted to finish the album that day and since I was exhausted, Lenny came in to finish the recording that day. Then there was the time the United Polka Association did an "Award Winning" album after their 1984 convention. As an award recipient, Lenny performed on trumpet, clarinet and concertina as well as doing vocals with Eddie Blazonczyk. Lenny played many UPA Conventions through the years and always attracted the largest crowds. As long as I have known him, he has always been a gentleman and a wonderful friendly entertainer. Whenever he is in Chicago, I try not to miss his performances. I also share his performance schedule with fans and followers in other states.

Sincerely,

Don Ptak
Retired Jay Jay Records
Li'l Wally Band, Leader of the Casino's
Former Treasurer/Vice President 

UPA International




"Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push are truly a delight to polka enthusiasts and dancers alike. Their polka repertoire is extensive and ranges from traditional to contemporary, Polish to American. The manic pace at which they perform leaves dancers sweating and listeners in a state of vertigo. One of the best polka bands around."

Carlos C. Tortolero
Program Manager
Chicago Summer Dance Series
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs




"When you have pro's in a certain field, you know they are trying to achieve the highest goal possible. This also holds true in the polka music field. Lenny Gomulka has to be one of the most respected and well known musicians in the business. When speaking of Chicago-Style music, you just can't beat the winning team of my good friend, the Million Dollar Voice of Lenny Gomulka and his Chicago Push."

Billy Belina
Polka Music Hall of Fame Inductee
former WMUA 91.1FM - Amherst, MA
Polka Jammer Network
Leader of the Baystate




"The best thing that happened on the polka scene out of Chicagoland was the formation of Lenny Gomulka & the Chicago Push. Their clean, vibrant Chicago sound is like a shot in the arm."

Chet Schafer
Polka Music Hall of Fame Inductee
President - Chicago Polka Records
WPNA & WCEV Radio
Chicago, IL




"In my forty-two years of Polka Promotions, I have had the pleasure of working with the "best of the best" including the big name bands from Chicago. These were the bands that enjoyed widely known name recognition, professionals that drew overflow crowds. Bands that played and sang Polish favorites from the heart with the Chicago beat. After many decades of fun-filled dedicated performances, for various reasons, many of these bands have suspended road performances, however, one has remained. That band leader was innovative in taking the lead, updating the traditional style Polish polka sound to attract younger polka fans, giving the music "Push" while maintaining and not losing nor compromising the true integrity of the Polish Chicago polka sound... that leader is Lenny Gomulka. Lenny's "Velvet Voice of Polka" helped ease the polka world's loss of "The Golden Voice" of Marion Lush. Both polka greats sing/sang from the heart, and are/were personable making their fans feel welcome, like old friends, treating them with respect both an and off the bandstand. In my decades of promotion it has always been a pleasure working with Lenny. Like Marion, Lenny proved to be a man of his word explaining why Lenny and Marion have become icons in the polka world, loved and adored by their fans. Lenny's recordings, the old LP's and the new CD's, have always been much requested and featured on our 6 and one-half hour weekly Sunday Happy Polkaland Shows that have been on the airwaves for over 41 years. If you want to feel happy or need an emotional up lift, then take the emotional anti-depressant, whether by listening to a recording or experiencing the excitement of a live performance by Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push while we are still fortunate enough to have this polka great performing for us."

Larry Walk
Polka Music Hall of Fame Inductee
Penn-Ohio Polka Promoter
WSOM & WKTX Radio
Youngstown, Ohio




"I was first introduced to Lenny Gomulka and his music in the early 1980’s. As the years went by it was evident that Lenny's music would grow to be loved and was destined to be Award Winning by not only Polish-Americans but to all those who heard him perform. Lenny’s songs are written and played from the heart which is where the most wonderful music comes from. In my opinion, this is why Lenny & Chicago Push have been nominated for numerous Grammy Awards and the reason why they have won so many Awards from the United States Polka Association, the International Polka Association and others. Lenny’s professionalism, personal integrity and showmanship are unsurpassed andI'm happy to say that through the years he has become a true friend to my entire family. We first met Lenny through my Mom, the late Jean Wagner who was then U.S.P.A President, and our friendship has grown stronger throughout the years. He will always hold a special place in our hearts. Lenny, we thank you for the many years of musical enjoyment and for just being you."

Barb Haselow
President, United States Polka Association
Cleveland, Ohio




There is a reason why the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences have bestowed one Grammy nomination after another upon Lenny Gomulka.There is a reason why Massachusetts politicians - who don't agree on much - knew that a song by this Chicago native had to be proclaimed the official polka of the Bay State.There is a reason why audiences have turned out for more than 25 years to see Lenny play or buy his records.Lenny's music is honest. It is rich in ethnic tradition but not bound by the past. Whether he is professing his love for his wife, Estelle, ("Irresistible You"), reflecting on fatherhood ("She Turned 21") or saluting his adopted home state ("Say Hello to Someone in Massachusetts"), the music comes from his heart. Perhaps, that is why the beat is so central to his music. When Lenny plays, you never see people sitting it out. They're on the dance floor - they're enjoying life - they're living in the moment - and Lenny would never have it any other way."

Ray Kelly
Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Republican News
Springfield, MA 




When you talk “quality entertainment” one group will surely come to mind - “Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push”. It has been our pleasure to be involved with Lenny since the inception of Chicago Push. We have had the pleasure of witnessing the ups and downs of this powerful musician and his band. Not to dwell on the negatives or the downs but every band that I have ever worked with experiences them, the professional’s work through them and then rebound stronger as they learn from their misfortunes. Lenny is one of those professionals. As the promoters of the Summer Music Fest and other events in Frankenmuth, Michigan, we can tell you there is no other band more sought after than Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push. From the first note to the last, your toes will be tapping and your hands a clapping. Lenny’s unique vocal and musical arrangement makes each polka, waltz, oberek, or pop song special and keeps the audience yearning for more. With each great professional comes a nucleus of professionals around you, Lenny will be the first to tell you and also the first to acknowledge the professionalism of the members of Chicago Push. Their professionalism is not just evident on stage but off the stage as well. Their outreach to their fans is one of the key ingredients to the success of Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push. It is very evident Lenny and the band love what they do and for whom they do it. It goes without saying that Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push will be one of the first choices of entertainment at our events.
Mark and Val Janson
Summer Music Fest, Frankenmuth, Michigan
www.frankenmuthfestivals.com 




"It has been an absolute pleasure and honor to be involved in Lenny Gomulka’s CD projects. Whether it is in the writing, arranging, performing, recording, or manufacturing of his music, Lenny Gomulka is a consummate professional who sets perfection as his goal. We’ve seen his band evolve over the years, but one thing has remained constant; the quality and musicality that can only be associated with a living legend in polka music. No polka record collection can be considered complete without all of Lenny’s projects. When you experience one of Lenny Gomulka’s CDs or live performances, it quickly becomes clear that you have placed yourself in the presence of a true artist. While he is impressive from a musical standpoint, he also has a universal acceptability to his music, which makes it enjoyable to casual listeners as well; a well balanced mix of traditional and modern that appeals to both young and old, and experienced listeners as well as newcomers to polka music. As for Lenny’s personal musical talent, he possesses an artistic musicianship that has served as inspiration for generations of musicians, who have admittedly imitated, but never equaled, his performance level. Known especially for his vocal abilities and virtuosity on clarinet and trumpet, Lenny’s playing cannot be exaggerated, because it is perfect. Just when you think that you’ve heard “all” of Lenny, he comes up with an idea that takes his musical expression entirely to a new level. As he repeats this several times during his performance, it is clear that his artistic ability is literally unlimited. It is impossible to have a discussion about polka music without mentioning Lenny Gomulka. We look forward to being involved in Lenny Gomulka’s music for many years to come. It is an honor to press his CDs, to work with him, and to consider him a friend."
John Borkowski,
Disc Makers East Coast Audio Sales Manager
 




Lenny Gomulka began playing drums at the age of 4 and taking trumpet lessons at the age of 11. This early involvement in polka music established a musical career path that not only continues today but has grown to the point where Gomulka has truly become an icon of the industry. From the days of the Happy Go Luckies, his first band, to Jerry Pietranczyk and the Polka Sharps, to The Tones, to Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones, to Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push, Gomulka's influence on polka music compares with the best of the best. Gomulka's reputation and demand as a studio musician is yet another example of his ability and connection to Polish polka music. He has performed with many bands both in the studio and on stage. Lenny's distinct talent in song composition enable him to create melodies and lyrics that become instantly familiar to the listener. Many Gomulka originals have fans singing along on just their first time hearing it played from the stage. It's music from the heart, played to the heart. The question of how many instruments Lenny Gomulka plays is not an easy one to answer because trumpet, drums, clarinet, sax, and concertina are just some of the answers. He not only plays all of these, but plays all of these to near perfection. If I have to select my favorite of the many recordings by Gomulka, I'm not sure I could do it. Each offers something unique and yet something familiar. Each has a moment that reaches into your polka soul or warms your Polish heart. Each stands on its own, yet builds a bridge to the recording that follows. What may sound strange coming from this Polka Editor is, of all the albums by Gomulka, the one I thought of first while writing this sentence was his 2003 Christmas CD, "The Gift of Music". Going back to words I used then, "this is an absolutely fabulous collection of holiday songs that ride the complete ladder of personal emotions." "Gomulka has always been able to create music and lyrics that flow as naturally as a pristine stream through a snow-covered mountainside." "It's as if he took the lyrics from your head and from your heart, and put them with a melody you've known all your life. "Just a warning! "Auld Lang Syne," the last track, will drill its way into your heart and bring back every warm holiday memory, and you'll want to immediately replay this entire recording again." Listening to Lenny Gomulka is pure polka

Steve Litwin
Polka Editor/Associate Editor
Polish American Journal
World Concertina Congress Hall of Fame
Inductee - 2004