Komeda Project: Ballad for Bernt
Ballad for Bernt
Requiem (WM Records 358852)
Krzysztof Medyna (tenor sax), Andrzej Winnicki (piano).
Composed by Krzysztof Komeda.
Recorded: Brooklyn, April 2009
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