All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

265

Komeda Project: Crazy Girl

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Crazy Girl by the Komeda Project, a quintet founded by pianist Andrzej Winnicki and saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna, is a very exciting project. It aims to bring the music of Krzysztof Komeda, its beauty, emotional intensity and logical yet dramatic structure, to a wider audience.

While the jazz ethos is universal, Komeda's music distills the essence of Poland and pours it into the jazz bottle. Widely acclaimed as one of the prime creators of modern Polish, if not European jazz, Komeda's relatively short career had an enormous impact that is still being felt. . (See the article Polish Jazz for a deeper look into the history of Polish jazz).

The Komeda Project can be viewed as a "fourth generation" version of Komeda's music. The original Komeda recordings are available and enhance the appreciation of the current disc. The single most important record is Astigmatic (Power Bros reissue, 1998); "Kattorna" and "Svantetic" from this disc are on it. The title tune alone, both terrifying and phantasmagoric, is enough to cement Komeda's reputation.

Trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, who was in Komeda's original band, represents the "second generation" in his recording Litania - The Music of Krzysztof Komeda(ECM, 1997) and the "third generation" with Lontano (ECM, 2006). The former is an attempt to recreate the original arrangements and improvise within them, while the latter contains a reworking of "Kattorna."

Winnicki and Medyna are joined by trumpeter Russ Johnson (see Save Big) and drummer David Anthony. Crazy Girl consists of six Komeda compositions ("Crazy Girl," "Kattorna," "Ballada," "Svantetic Prelude," "Svantetic" and "Sleep Safe and Warm") and three Winnicki originals. Komeda also wrote the music for a number of Roman Polanski films, and "Sleep Safe and Warm" might be recognized from Rosemary's Baby.

The excitement, energy and the logical yet free structure of Komeda's work is readily apparent in the arrangements and playing. While Winnicki has looked at the scores, these tracks are not meant to be museum pieces, but rather a reaction in the present to the very core of Komeda's music. If you are familiar with any of the earlier generations, the "Komeda-ness" of these performances will be readily apparent. While the overall sound might date the music, labeling it hard bop would be a gross disservice.

Johnson is not trying to sound like Stanko, but rather pours himself into the themes and plays with fire and controlled abandon. Medyna also does not sound like Zbigniew Namyslowski, the original alto saxophonist, but he is extremely exciting and also plays on the edge. Komeda was not a particularly strong piano soloist, but rather controlled the proceedings from his bench; Winnicki straddles the piano's original role with very fine soloing. Anthony and Bates are truly locked and drive the band sharply.

Crazy Girl is a wonderful introduction to the musical world of Krzysztof Komeda, and I can only hope that "Astigmatic" and "Nighttime, Daytime Requiem" will be tackled next. Highly recommended.


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.

Title: Crazy Girl | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: WM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Faroe CD/LP/Track Review
Faroe
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2018
Read The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale CD/LP/Track Review
The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves CD/LP/Track Review
Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 15, 2018
Read A Journey CD/LP/Track Review
A Journey
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Decay Of The Angel CD/LP/Track Review
Decay Of The Angel
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica CD/LP/Track Review
Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "Straight Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Straight Forward
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 14, 2018
Read "Friends & Family" CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Family
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Whispers on the Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Najwa" CD/LP/Track Review Najwa
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazz Room Cortez
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Vol. 1 - This Is My Swamp" CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1 - This Is My Swamp
by Paul Naser
Published: September 29, 2017