Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jan Bokszczanin - Komeda Inspirations (2010)

Adam Baruch is well-known jazz writer and creator of Jazzis site where you can find a very interesting selection of music from all over the world. I want to thank him for consent to publish some of his excellent texts on this blog thus allowing us to spread word about Polish jazz even further: 
This magnificent album is an astonishing tribute to the music of the great Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda, the Godfather of Polish Jazz and one of the most important figures of the European Jazz scene. Organist Jan Bokszczanin, born in Russia and living in Poland, famous for his Church Organ performances and recordings of Classical Music, undertakes here an unprecedented project of presenting the music of Komeda in a completely new light, transposing it into contemporary Chamber-Jazz, quite afar from it´s Jazz origins. Of course Komeda´s music is often played by Jazz musicians (sadly mostly only in his native country), but such ambitious undertaking, as presented here, has never been attempted so far. In retrospect, this project proves the true greatness and depth of Komeda´s music, which transpires as being beyond and above any genre classification. The album includes thirteen pieces of music, eight of which are original Komeda´s compositions and the rest are new pieces composed by contemporary composers, who were inspired by him and his music. Bokszczanin carefully assembled a group of instrumentalists, mostly Jazz players, which consists of trumpeter Robert Majewski, saxophonists Pawel Gusnar and Tomasz Szukalski and flautist Ryszard Borowski. Four of the tracks include vocals, performed by the excellent Grazyna Auguscik, who not only sings the song´s lyrics (written by Polish poetess Agnieszka Osiecka) but also adds some vocalese a la early Urszula Dudziak. The album was recorded at the Reformed Evangelical Church in Warsaw, with the majestic sound of the organ serving as the base element of all the music, with the other instruments playing on top of this basic sound layer. The sensitive and intelligent arrangements were written partly by the participating musicians and partly by other contemporary Polish composers / arrangers. Overall this is obviously a work of love, admiration and respect, a tribute in the true meaning of the idiom. For people familiar with Komeda´s music, this is a revelation, for those unfamiliar with it; this is a heavenly gate which marks a great entry point towards it. It is a rare occasion indeed that an album gave me so much pleasure upon first listening and I´m sure to return to it repeatedly in the future. It goes without saying that I recommend this music to anyone with a pair of ears and some gray matter between them. If anything is essential, this is it!

Check this film for sample of music from this album (The tune is Komeda's "Rosemary's Baby")...

Author of text: Adam Baruch (

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