Friday, June 17, 2011

Leszek Możdżer - Komeda (ACT, 2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Możdżer is a key figure in modern Polish jazz. His importance is evident at several levels. As very young pianist he took part in yass movement playing in Miłość band (check for example "Asthmatic"). He was at those times playing avantgarde music, often mockingly paraphrasing great tradition of mainstream jazz. Although after couple of years this movement extinguished, it left an important legacy which enabled present renaissance of free and improvised music in Poland.

After this period Możdżer moved closer to mainstream when he played in energetic bop style making several recordings that are by many regarded as best ones in Polish jazz history ("Talk To Jesus" or "Live In Sofia").

But that was not the end of Możdżer's metamorphoses because after couple of years he once again changed his emploi completely and moved unexpectedly toward popular music though  maintaining his jazz language. And the outcome was as usual with Możdżer entirely his own which is evidenced for example by recordings he made with Lars Danielsson ("The Time").

Although many jazz lovers in Poland complained over this latest change, I am of the opinion that there is no musician in Poland that makes more to popularize jazz among wider audience. The result is that his albums are impatiently awaited by all music lovers in Poland, jazz fans or not, sold in thousands of copies and his concerts are always given in full-packed halls.

Especially valued by audience are Możdżer's solo projects. His "Chopin" album became legendary. "Kaczmarek By Możdzer" contains tunes composed by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek who was awarded Oscar for sound track to Marc Foster's film "Finding Neverland". But of all those splendid recordings this newest one, dedicated to Krzysztof Komeda, sounds to me as most gracious and beautiful. One tune after another we hear all so well known tunes by Komeda but they are only a starting point for subtle and boundless improvisations. Following the steps of such great solo improvisers in Polish jazz as Mieczysław Kosz or Adam Makowicz, Możdżer proves that he is worthy to be placed in a same line with those giants of the past. Taking into account that Komeda is perhaps the most significant personality in history of Polish jazz and that this album allows to acquiesce with his magnificent compositions played in very attractive and approachable way, I do not hesitate but call this CD best ever entree to Polish jazz for all those who would like to start to know it better...

An excerpt from marvellous "The Law And The Fist" ("Prawo i pięść") tune:

Author w text: Maciej Nowotny (

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