Komeda Project: Crazy Girl (2007)
The Komeda Project jazz quintet originated with Breakwater, the jazz group founded by pianist Andrzej Winnicki and saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna. Rounding out the group with Canadian bassist Michael Bates, drummer Dave Anthony and trumpeter/flugelhornist Russ Johnson, The Komeda Project pays homage to the great Krzysztof Komeda (1931-1969), one of the founders of modern Polish jazz. Komeda reached international audiences through scoring a number of movies for Roman Polanski and Andrzej Wajda.
Over half of Crazy Girl's selections are Komeda-penned, largely from his film scores. The rest are from Winnicki, written in the same stylistic vein as Komeda, making the project a distinctly European affair thanks in large part to its lyrical and romantic classicism.
The title track, from Polanski's Knife in the Water, introduces Russ Johnson's flugelhorn, accompanied by Winnicki's lyrical touch on piano before picking up the tempo. Medyna on saxophones and Johnson on trumpet represent the front line on most of the recording. With "Kattorna, from the movie of the same name, Johnson breaks into a solo following the melody, gradually building in intensity thanks to Anthony's drum work. "Ballada is, as its name suggests, a ballad presented in a slow and easy tempo, again from Knife in the Water.
"Svantetic also picks up the 3â„4 beat of the title track and features Medyna on soprano sax. Bearing similarity to the opening of Luiz Bonfa's "Manha De Carnaval, it weaves slowly into the listener's mind on the short and more pensive "Svantetic Prelude, featuring Medyna's deep tenor. The brief and lyrical theme of "Sleep Safe and Warm, from Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, is an appropriate closing lullaby for the album.
Crazy Girl is a good example of European jazz, and an homage to a major figure of the 1960s. It also serves as a showcase for the influence that jazz holds in the world of cinema.
Track Listing: Crazy Girl; Kattorna; Ballada; Is That Your Final Answer?; Svantetic Prelude; Svantetic; Tail Piece; Stop Time; Sleep Safe and Warm.
Personnel: Russ Johnson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Krzysztof Medyna: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Andrzej Winnicki: piano; Michael Bates: bass; David Anthony: drums.