1,325

Komeda Project: Requiem

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
With the magnificent Requiem, pianist Andrzej Winnicki and saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna solidify and enhance their reputations as the prime promoters of the essential music of the Polish pianist and composer Krzysztof Komeda (1931-1969). Komeda is widely recognized as the founder of modern Polish, and in a wider sense, European modern jazz. That he worked in Poland under Communist oppression is important. At its heart, jazz refuses to be pigeonholed, and it both allows and demands that its practitioners be utterly and freely themselves. It is this freedom that makes jazz subversive and the reason that totalitarian governments have always attempted to suppress it, since free minds cannot be controlled.

As leaders of the Komeda Project, Medyna and Winnicki remember Poland under the control of the Soviet Union, the clandestine underground sessions, the danger of daring to express oneself, and hence fully appreciate the freedom of the United States. Freedom, however, is not anarchy and real freedom is underpinned by rules, both explicit and implicit. In music, the rules are the mixture of tonality by key or mode and its derived harmony, melody or thematic fragments and rhythm. The nature of the music is the mixture of each part's individual strength, and result of their interaction at the lower musical level and the higher level of the players themselves.

Requiem contains, most wonderfully, two of Komeda's greatest compositions, "Night-time, Daytime Requiem" (listed as three tracks, which, however, run together) and "Astigmatic." Those who know the originals will appreciate Winnicki's arrangements as being fresh while acknowledging the past. Komeda's knack of creating memorable, highly emotional thematic phrases and then building large, logically inevitable structures that support vigorous improvisation is directly audible here.

The band's playing, individually and as a group, is superb. Medyna is always fiery and white-hot but under control - full of passion even his slower lines. This contrasts nicely with Winnicki's cooler playing. Russ Johnson, who has been with the group since its inception, stands between Medyna and Winnicki, playing the hot trumpet and cooler flugelhorn. The core trio is supported by the very sharp and incisive rhythm section of bassist Scott Colley and drummer Nasheet Waits. Medyna writes that they were chosen precisely for two reasons: they were not familiar with Komeda and have extremely sharp reflexes. Medyna wanted the music to combine the "sound of surprise" with the opposite of its internal logical structure, and on that note Colley and Waits deliver.

Crazy Girl (WM Records, 2007), the Komeda Project's previous release, was a welcome re-introduction to the work of Komeda. From this point of view, Requiem can only be termed as essential.

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

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

Title: Requiem | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: WM Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Kattorna

Kattorna

Komeda Project
Crazy Girl

Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Requiem

Requiem

WM Records
2010

buy
Requiem

Requiem

WM Records
2009

buy
Crazy Girl

Crazy Girl

WM Records
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Getz At The Gate Album Reviews
Getz At The Gate
By Chris May
June 19, 2019
Read Keep Talkin' Album Reviews
Keep Talkin'
By Dan McClenaghan
June 19, 2019
Read Night Owl Album Reviews
Night Owl
By Dan Bilawsky
June 19, 2019
Read Let's Play Album Reviews
Let's Play
By Don Phipps
June 19, 2019
Read Hidden Corners Album Reviews
Hidden Corners
By Dan McClenaghan
June 18, 2019
Read Special Album Reviews
Special
By Jakob Baekgaard
June 18, 2019
Read Land Of Real Men Album Reviews
Land Of Real Men
By Friedrich Kunzmann
June 18, 2019