Krzysztof Komeda

In his short life (until his untimely death in a tragic accident in Hollywood at the age of 38), Krzysztof Komeda wrote music to over 40 films, including such Polish cinematic classics as Roman Polanski’s "Knife in the Water" and Andrzej Wajda’s "Innocent Sorcerers." Polanski’s first film, "Two Men and a Wardrobe" (1957), was also Komeda’s first time scoring for the screen. Polanski would go on to use Komeda’s music in almost all of his films over the course of the next decade, eventually 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. Not only is the 'Rosemary’s Baby' score extraordinary musically, it’s also one of the only major hit soundtracks of the late 60s, along with Ennio Marricone’s 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.'"
ECM recording artist trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, 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.
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. He is widely credited as being one of the founding fathers of the modern jazz movement in Poland.
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Krzysztof Medyna & Andrzej Winnicki

Born and raised in Poland, founders of the Komeda Project, pianist Andrzej Winnicki and saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna have been playing together for over thirty years. They bring both a European classicism and melancholy Slavic melodism to music that's heavily refracted through the prism of the American tradition. Before moving to the United States in the late 1980s, they spent years touring Europe with the award-winning group Breakwater. Medyna was also a member of In/Formation, which featured Michael Urbaniak alum Czeslaw Bartkowski on drums, touring extensively on double bills with ECM recording artist/Polish trumpet legend Tomasz Stanko. After releasing In the Bush in 2001, with a reformed Electric Breakwater that also featured bassist Mark Egan and drummer Rodney Holmes, Winnicki and Medyna decided to unplug, forming the all-acoustic Komeda Project in 2004.
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Russ Johnson

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. He has performed with a who's who of jazz heavyweights, including Kenny Wheeler, Bill Frisell, Oliver Lake, David Liebman and Joe Lovano, in addition to leading his own groups and touring with Lee Konitz's latest nonet. Lyrical and economical with open ears and mind, Medyna describes him as "a poet of the trumpet. He is so sensitive, he can paint, and he can create a picture, making it easy for us to build something from nothing."
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Scott Colley

Scott Colley has become one of modern jazz's most in-demand bassists, playing with everyone from Pat Metheny, Jim Hall and Joe Lovano to Herbie Hancock, Kenny Werner and Brian Blade. Ever-inventive, with an innate ability to always find the right note, the perfect phrase for any context, this Down Beat "Rising Star" winner from 2002-2004 has been an invaluable partner on countless sessions where finding the essence of the music, with little-to-no preparation time, is a true testament to expansive talent.
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Nasheet Waits

Nasheet Waits has, with a résumé that includes work with Fred Hersch, Geri Allen, Steve Coleman, Stefon Harris, Andrew Hill and The Mingus Big Band, emerged as one of his generation's most important drummers. Like Colley, Waits' deep roots in the tradition are what give Komeda Project its edge of unmistakably European jazz played with the swing and unmistakable conviction of an American rhythm section. "We are convinced," says Medyna, "that there is no rhythm section like an American rhythm section." Winnicki adds: "We came into this project knowing, from the get-go, that if we were going to do another record, we wanted to make it with great players at the level of Russ, Scott and Nasheet; and to have a real American rhythm section that would come in, without any knowledge of Komeda or Stanko, and play their hearts out."
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