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Komeda Project: Requiem (2010)

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Krzysztof Komeda
Krzysztof Komeda
Krzysztof Komeda
1931 - 1969
piano
is a figure of immense significance in Polish jazz, in effect the musician who both gave it its original authentic voice and marked its place in the world. In the 15 years before his death in 1969, Komeda was active as bandleader and film composer, scoring films by Roman Polanski like Two Men and a Wardrobe and Rosemary's Baby. Clearly influenced by Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
, Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
and John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, he found a profound affinity between modal jazz and Polish folk elements, crafting a moody, often pensive music that is at the root of much later European music, including much of that associated with ECM. His influence continues. Tomasz Stanko
Tomasz Stanko
Tomasz Stanko
b.1942
trumpet
, who came to maturity in Komeda's sextet, has recorded the beautiful Litania and the Marcin Wasilewski Trio recorded a fine early CD called Komeda when they were still called the Simple Acoustic Trio.

That heritage is very much apparent in the present Komeda Project, a quintet led by New York-resident Polish musicians, saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna and pianist Andrzej Winnicki
Andrzej Winnicki
Andrzej Winnicki
b.1956
piano
. The two have been playing together since the '80s and in the Komeda Project have created both an homage to the composer and a brilliant band, here completed by trumpeter Russ Johnson
Russ Johnson
b.1965
trumpet
, bassist Scott Colley
Scott Colley
Scott Colley
b.1963
bass
and drummer Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
b.1971
drums
.

The music is deeply reflective, at times somber, at other times pastoral, sometimes shot through with drama, as in the fanfares of the three-part "Night-time, Daytime Requiem" that frame both heated tenor work and contrasting trumpet. There's a sense of a cumulative forward momentum that at the same time possesses an inner repose. Some of Komeda's best-known works can be found here, including "Astigmatic," highlighted by a coiling soprano solo by Medyna, and the ethereal "Litania" with some flugelhorn work at the edge of introversion by Johnson, who provides many of the solo highlights. This profoundly lyrical CD can stand in the company of works like Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
's Maiden Voyage and Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler
b.1930
trumpet
's Deer Wan.


Track Listing: Night-time, Daytime Requiem (Part 1); Night-time, Daytime Requiem (Part 2); Night-time, Daytime Requiem (Part 3); Ballad for Bernt; Dirge for Europe; Astigmatic; Elutka; Prayer and Question; Litania; Anubis.

Personnel: Russ Johnson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Krzysztof Medyna: tenor and soprano saxophone; Andrzej Winnicki: piano; Scott Colley: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Record Label: WM Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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