Komeda Project: Ballad for Bernt

Track

Ballad for Bernt

Group

Komeda Project

CD

Requiem (WM Records 358852)

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Musicians:

Russ Johnson (flugelhorn), Scott Colley (bass), Nasheet Waits (drums),

Krzysztof Medyna (tenor sax), Andrzej Winnicki (piano)

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Composed by Krzysztof Komeda

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Recorded: Brooklyn, April 2009

Albumcoverkomedaprojectrequiem

Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

Tribute bands, for better or worse, are increasingly setting the tone for the jazz scene. But a tribute band dedicated to an artist outside the American hegemonic sphere is unusual, and even more so when the focus is on a musician best known as a film composer. Yet Krzysztof Komeda (1931-1969) is a deserving figure, and his work back in the 1960s played an important role in establishing the European jazz aesthetic that has spawned so many later bands and recordings. As a follow-up to their 2007 CD Crazy Girl the Komeda Project has returned with Requiem, and here they present a composition drawn from the score for the Roman Polanski film Knife in the Water. The piece is a languorous ballad in a Strayhorn-esque vein, and Russ Johnson steps to the fore on this track with a moody solo that extends the mood of the written melody. Even so, I found myself paying more attention to the rhythm section, and in particular Nasheet Waits, who manage to maintain the emotional temperature of Komeda's work, while instilling some sweet momentum on a chart that could easily drift away into the clouds.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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