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Komeda Project | Crazy Girl

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John Coltrane Krzysztof Komeda Tomasz Stańko

Album Links
"Svantettic" part1 performed live at Polish Consulate in NYC "Svantetic" part2 live at Polish Consulate in NYC Komeda Project official website Video clip of Krzysztof Komeda's Kattorna, performed live by Komeda Project w/special guest, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. C. Michael Bailey's Best Releases of 2007 List at allaboutjazz.com Budd Kopman's BEST of 2007 List at allaboutjazz.com

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Jazz: Post-Bop Jazz: Progressive Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Crazy Girl

by Komeda Project

Krzysztof Komeda (1931-69), in his short life, wrote music to over 60 films, including Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby." Bringing Komeda's wondrous music back to life is what KOMEDA PROJECT, a jazz quintet, is all about.
Genre: Jazz: Post-Bop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Crazy Girl
11:14 $0.99
2. Kattorna
9:45 $0.99
3. Ballada
5:09 $0.99
4. Is That Your Final Answer?
8:47 $0.99
5. Svantetic Prelude
2:39 $0.99
6. Svantetic
8:38 $0.99
7. Tail Peace
6:45 $0.99
8. Stop Time
7:45 $0.99
9. Sleep Safe and Warm
1:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“An innovator with a complex of tradition, romanticist expressing himself in the contemporary idiom, poet of piano – this was Krzysztof Komeda, one of those musicians who have widened the essence of jazz”*.

In his short life (until untimely death, after a tragic accident in Hollywood at the age of 38), Krzysztof Komeda (1931-1969) wrote music for more than 60 films, including classics of the Polish cinema by the Academy Award winners Roman Polanski and Andrzej Wajda.
It was Polanski who gave Komeda his first commission in 1957, and used his music in almost all of his films over the next decade; inviting him to Hollywood in 1967 to score his American film debut, “Rosemary’s Baby.” According to Polanski himself, the popular and critical success of “Rosemary’s Baby” owed much to Komeda’s empathy and creative imagination.

Even though Komeda’s film scores quite often made use of Jazz and improvisation, it is the music he wrote to perform and record as a pianist with his own jazz groups, especially 1965 recording of “Astigmatic,” that helped to develop a uniquely European (in structure and lyrical content, especially) style in jazz composition.

Their musical roots in Poland, founders of KOMEDA PROJECT - pianist ANDRZEJ WINNICKI and saxophonist KRZYSZTOF MEDYNA toured Europe extensively during the 1980's with their original jazz group Breakwater. The group was featured at European jazz festivals, won an international jazz competition (best group and best instrumentalist - Krzysztof Medyna), and was broadcast on television and radio. Later, Medyna also performed and recorded as a member of the group In/Formation, frequently touring side by side (on a double bill) with ECM recording artist, trumpeter Tomasz Stanko who worked on all of Krzysztof Komeda’s Polish soundtracks from 1964 onwards and was the composer’s closest musical associate and band member from 1963 until 1968.
In the United States, Winnicki and Medyna revived their original group during the 90’s under the name Electric Breakwater. Electric Breakwater’s CD “In the Bush”, released in 2001, with Mark Egan on bass and Rodney Holmes on drums is presently available on amazon.com.

Trumpeter Russ Johnson, a Manhattan School of Music graduate, is an active performer in the jazz, improvised, and contemporary classical music scenes throughout the U.S. and abroad. In addition to leading his own groups, Russ is currently touring as a member of Lee Konitz' new nonet and the Steve Swallow/Ohad Talmor "L'Histoire du Clochard" sextet. In addition, Russ has performed with a long list of musical heavyweights including: Kenny Wheeler, Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, Richie Beirach, Mark Ribot, Charles Earland, David Liebman, Joe Maneri, The Jazz Passengers, Oliver Lake, Brian Blade, Tony Malaby and Mat Maneri as well as Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, Michael Bublé, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Aretha Franklin

A native of Canada, bassist Michael Bates is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has performed with Quinsin Nachoff, Chris Speed, Matt Moran, Michael Blake, Gerald Cleaver, Dan Weiss, Jeff Davis, Kevin Turcotte, George Garzone, John Stetch, Scott Dubois, Michael Attias and Michael Sarin. He has toured Europe, Hong Kong, China, Korea and Japan and performed across the United States and across Canada. Michael Bates is on faculty at the Banff Centre of the Arts as Program Coordinator of the International Jazz Workshop where he works with the artistic director, Dave Douglas.

Drummer Dave Anthony also holds a degree from Manhattan School of Music. He began his professional career touring and recording with Oscar Award winning Tan Dun, composer of "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" movie score. He has recorded and/or performed with Glen Burtnick (songwriter/Styx), "Electric Breakwater" and Broadway’s "Swing" and “Moving out”.

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.”* It deserves not to be forgotten.

*from Adam Slawinski’s liner notes to Krzysztof Komeda’s “Astigmatic”.



to write a review

C.Michael Bailey/allaboutjazz.com

A compelling musical offering that stands apart from the typical, standard quint
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. The quintet’s musicianship is beautifully applicable and natural, with a certain organic recognition of the composer’s intent. The entire disc exists in this vein, making it a compelling musical offering that stands apart from the typical, standard quintet fare.

Thomas Conrad/Stereophile Magazine

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 - gifted but little-known American outcat and two even less known Polish heavyweights - 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. He can embody Komeda's poignancy (Crazy Girl) or bump over the top of his forms (Kattorna), or define, then freely smear the outlines of Komeda songs (Ballada). Krzysztof Medyna is a powerful, hair-rising reed player. On Crazy Girl he is ejected straight up and flies. Pianist Andrzej Winnicki plays solos made of sudden shifts that all cohere, and is a blocky, confrontational accompanist. For all its liberating blowing, "Crazy Girl" is true to its cinematic premise. Even the boldest solos occur in narrative context, along an arc that moves through tension and release and continuously varied thematic allusion to culmination. The entire album makes an arc, because it ends with Komeda's most famous piece, "Sleep Safe and Warm," the main theme from Rosemary's Baby.

Chris Parker

Absorbing, respectful yet consistently lively and compelling. Recommended.
...the occasionally Wheeleresque trumpeter
Russ Johnson and the affectingly throaty saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna ensure that none of the music's emotional power is dissipated in their absorbing, respectful yet consistently lively and compelling quintet treatments of some of the most under-visited items in the jazz canon.

Jazzwise Magazine/April2007

... updating Krzysztof Komeda's music within a contemporary hard bop context...
... updating his (Krzysztof Komeda's) music within a contemporary hard bop context ... that would not
have been out of place on a Blue Note album ..., with high energy solos to boot.

Keyboard Magazine/April2007

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.
On the groups latest release, "Crazy Girl", arrangements of Komedas 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.

Kazimierz Wlekly

Good music!
Wspaniala muzyka! Dziekuje za tak piekna plyte z muzyka, ktora robi wrazenie! COMEDA PROJECT is OK!

Budd Kopman/AllAboutJazz.com

Highly Recommended.
Crazy Girl is a very exciting project. The excitement, energy and the logical yet free structure of Komeda's work is readily apparent in the arrangements and playing.
... these tracks are not meant to be museum pieces, but rather a reaction in the present to the very core of Komeda's music. ... a wonderful introduction to the musical world of Krzysztof Komeda ... Highly recommended.

Elliott Simon/AllAboutJazz.com

A very versatile and potent quintet.
... a very versatile and potent quintet. Their performance is anything but a slavish recreation of Komeda’s music but speaks more to the composer’s sensuality of expression and grasp of emotionality. Beginning with three examples of Komeda’s melodic film music, the quintet is not long into the first and title cut before it shows its well-developed abilities to blow bop.

Alain Londes/AllAboutJazz.com

A good example of European jazz.
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.

D. Oscar Groomes

They have accomplished their mission and bring Komeda's music to a new audience.
This Euro-twist on jazz feels like modern jazz in Winnicki's arrangements. Bates’ use of the bow on the intro of "Ballada" adds depth and drama to the piece, a beautiful blue ballad. Medyna is wailing on "Is That Your Answer?" with a Coltrane influence no doubt. He is joined by Russ on
"Svantetic" for some sweet harmonies out front. "Tail Piece", a more relaxed tune is Winnicki's showpiece. They have accomplished their mission and bring Komeda's music to a new audience.
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