Komeda Project
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Komeda Project

Union, New Jersey, United States | INDIE | AFM

Union, New Jersey, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Jazz Acoustic


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"Concert Review: The Komeda Project at the Polish&Slavic Center, Brooklyn NY 4/8/2010."

Polish jazz composer/pianist Krzysztof Komeda is best remembered for the score to "Rosemary's Baby" (Roman Polanski would use his music in several films) and the 1965 cult classic album "Astigmatic." The Komeda Project dedicate themselves to keeping his music alive; their "Requiem" album was simply one of the best albums in any genre released last year.

Thursday night at the spacious converted church housing the Polish/Slavic Center in Greenpoint, the Komeda Project - this particular version featuring pianist Andrzej Winnicki, sax player Krzysztof Medyna, trumpeter Russ Johnson and an inspired, absolutely spot-on pickup rhythm section of Drew Gress on bass and Rudy Royston on drums - played a show that was as hauntingly nuanced as the album. - Alan Young/lucidculture.wordpress.com

"Highly Recommended!"

... a wonderfully fresh look at the music of a composer who is finally getting his due in the jazz world. The playing here is fresh and inspired and in-the-moment, so much so that you never get the sense that this is merely another jazz repertory project. Highly recommended! - Dave Wayne/jazzreview.com


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.

The band's playing, individually and as a group, is superb.

"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. - Budd Kopman/allaboutjazz.com

"To hear something that has not been heard before ..."

Among music fans, jazz people typically possess an exaggerated need for new stimuli. To hear something that has not been heard before is their endless quest. They are hereby directed to "Crazy Girl" by the Komeda Project.

Not that this music is radical. But its basis in the compositions of Krzysztof Komeda, and its three soloists make "Crazy Girl" notably fresh.

Komeda's unique themes, with their dramatized Slavic lyricism, give this album its character and like all great melodies heard for the very first time, are both startling and familiar and, in Komeda's case, disquieting.

But this is a jazz album, and what matters is how these players make Komeda's music their own. Russ Johnson's trumpet work is creative and diverse. Krzysztof Medyna is a powerful, hair-rising reed player. Pianist Andrzej Winnicki plays solos made of sudden shifts that all cohere...

Performance: **** - Thomas Conrad/Stereophile

"It is rare to discover something as unexpectedly compelling as this."

Even amongst the many engaging, skillfully-executed projects that cross our desk, it's rare to discover something as unexpectedly compelling as this.

Andrzej's arrangements of Komeda's works are sophisticated and engaging, bringing to mind the warm vibe of such classic recordings as "Kind of Blue" and "Blues and the Abstract Truth" ... and the entire group's musicianship remains exceptional throughout. - Michael Gallant/Keyboard

"This is absorbing, affecting music, addressed with intelligence and passion."

The three main soloists are all highly accomplished, Medyna's unpredictable eloquence, Winnicki's subtle power and Johnson's resourcefulness and lyricism (he's rightly called 'a poet of the trumpet' by Medyna) ...

This is absorbing, affecting music, addressed with intelligence and passion, and provides yet more evidence of just how serious a blow to the jazz world was Komeda's premature death at 37, in 1969. - Chris Parker/vortexjazz.co.uk

"A compelling musical offering that stands apart from the typical, standard quintet fare."

The Komeda Project is a quintet devoted to the compositions of Komeda. It takes full advantage of the open structure the composer ensured in all of his pieces. This open structure should not frighten free jazz phobics. The music is rhythmic and lyrical ... These pieces were tailor-made for jazz interpretation outside the cinema ...

The quintet's musicianship is beautifully applicable and natural, with a certain organic recognition of the composer's intent ... making it a compelling musical offering that stands apart from the typical, standard quintet fare. - C. Michael Bailey/allaboutjazz.com

"Hearing this music live was a fantastic experience."

The Komeda Project at the Cornelia Street Cafe
New York, New York 11/1/2007

The Komeda Project at Cornelia Street was electrifying, bringing the music of Krzysztof Komeda vividly to life ... the very alive essence of Komeda himself jumped from the stage.

What came out was not a high-quality reproduction of some mystical music from the past, but living, breathing, completely alive music that did not sound dated in the slightest. The reason is that Komeda's compositions are art and, as such, are timeless ... hearing this music live was a fantastic experience. - Budd Kopman/allaboutjazz.com

"Compelling, emotionally charged."

This tribute to Polish jazz pianist and soundtrack composer Krzysztof Komeda (renowned for his work on Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby") is lovingly handled by compatriots Andrzej Winnicki and Krzysztof Medyna, who have assembled a top-notch, freewheeling crew in bassist Scott Colley, trumpeter Russ Johnson and drummer Nasheet Waits.

Stout-toned tenor saxophonist Medyna digs in on Komeda's three-part ode to John Coltrane, "Night-Time, Daytime Requiem," and wails on soprano on "Dirge for Europe." Johnson makes a potent frontline partner on compelling, emotionally charged pieces like "Prayer and Question," "Litania" and "Elutka." - Bill Milkowski/JazzTimes

"A brilliant band."

... a brilliant band... The music is deeply reflective, at times somber, at over times pastoral, sometimes shot through with drama... There's a sense of a cumulative forward momentum that at the same time possesses an inner repose.

This profoundly lyrical CD can stand in the company of works like Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" and Kenny Wheeler's "Deer Wan" - Stuart Broomer/AllAboutJazz-New York


"Requiem" CD - WM Records
"Crazy Girl" CD - WM Records



Bringing Krzysztof Komeda's wondrous music back to life is what KOMEDA PROJECT is all about. He "expanded the range of expression in jazz by adding a dramatized lyricism - its force reaching the intensity of ecstatic and mystical experience."*

From the Press:
... lovingly handled by compatriots Andrzej Winnicki and Krzysztof Medyna, who have assembled a top-notch, freewheeling crew in bassist Scott Colley, trumpeter Russ Johnson and drummer Nasheet Waits... compelling, emotionally charged... Bill Milkowski/JazzTimes

My admiration for the album continued to grow as I listened to it. I think it is one of the strongest albums I have heard this year - and I get a LOT of albums in the mail! - - Thomas Conrad/Stereophile (review of group's debut "Crazy Girl")

While best known for his haunting soundtracks to Roman Polanski films, the Polish pianist and composer made plenty of music that commands full engagement. This quintet explores that rich musical terrain. - - Nate Chinen/New York Times

... intelligently conceived and engaging project.. The characterful, melancholy albeit sometimes sprightly music is delivered by carefully weighted playing all around. If this is testimony to the strength of Komeda's material it also says much about the maturity of this transatlantic take on matters European.
--Michael Tucker/Jazz Journal (UK)

Plenty has been written about European musicians approaching the American jazz tradition; it's far rarer to hear about American musicians bringing their heritage to distinctly European projects. Capitalizing on the critical acclaim for its debut "Crazy Girl", pianist/composer/arranger ANDRZEJ WINNICKI and saxophonist KRZYSZTOF MEDYNA - the driving force behind Komeda Project - bring trumpeter RUSS JOHNSON back for their new CD "REQUIEM". What makes "Requiem" different, however, and a significant evolution over "Crazy Girl", is the enlistment of uber-bassist SCOTT COLLEY and the equally ubiquitous drummer NASHEET WAITS.

Like "Crazy Girl", "Requiem's" primary focus is to bring the music of the late, legendary Polish composer/pianist Krzysztof Komeda ("Rosemary's Baby"; "Knife in the Water") into the new millennium with fresh arrangements, but this time the approach is far more open-ended. Sacrificing the "comfort zone" of a group familiar with the music, Winnicki and Medyna opted, instead, for the first encounter "sound of surprise" that comes from working with master musicians like Colley and Waits. "The profile of the repertoire on "Crazy Girl" was different," says Medyna. "The songs were selected more for gigging, so they were more straight-ahead."

With Requiem, Komeda Project aims for something different. "Requiem sounds freer," says Winnicki," because there's a new rhythm section that had never encountered this music before. Krzysztof, Russ and I have performed some of its material live, but 'Prayer and Question' and 'Dirge for Europe' were brought into the studio for the first time." The initially dark-hued "Prayer and Question" leads into one of Requiem's fieriest passages, with Colley and Waits' hard-swinging foundation supporting both its serpentine melody and Winnicki's most unfettered solo of the set. "Dirge for Europe" heads into previously uncharted territory, a feature for Johnson and Medyna that's bolstered by Waits' propulsive, New Orleans-influenced rhythm.

The three-part epic, "Night-time, Daytime Requiem," and equally complex, twisting and turning "Astigmatic," put a contemporary face on two of Komeda's most timeless compositions. "Komeda wrote 'Night-time' after he heard of John Coltrane's death," Winnicki explains, "and he was a huge fan, even if his music doesn't reflect it in a literal sense." It's a similar love of Coltrane that inspired Winnicki's modal "Anubis," one of Requiem's two non-Komeda originals. The other, the pianist's turbulently rubato "Elutka," is expanded from its origins as a soprano sax/piano duet to become a through-composed full ensemble piece that dovetails perfectly with Komeda's "Ballad for Bernt."

Pianist KRZYSZTOF KOMEDA was one of Poland's most famous modern composers and bandleaders during a brief life that ended in 1969, just shy of his 38th birthday. 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of his death. A self-taught musician, Komeda was best known for his scores to Roman Polanski films, from the director's breakthrough Knife in the Water (1962), to his Hollywood hits The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) and Rosemary's Baby (1968). He also led a renowned jazz quintet, releasing the internationally acclaimed Astigmatic in 1966. Trumpeter Tomasz Stanko - an international jazz star for his series of groundbreaking ECM albums including Litania (1997), an album of all-Komeda music - was the pianist's constant band mate from 1963 to 1968. Komeda's group also featured, at one time, saxophonist Michael Urbaniak and drummer Czeslaw Bartkowski, both of whom found widespread acclaim in Urbaniak's 1970s g