The Komeda Project Andrea Keller and Miroslav Bukovsky Independent Polish jazz pianist Krzysztof Komeda, who died in 1969, was known primarily for the music he composed for the films of Roman Polanski, including Rosemary’s Baby. On this album, Komeda’s interesting compositions are reimagined by two contemporary Australian jazz musicians of Czech heritage, pianist Andrea Keller and trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky. The brainchild of Polish-born enthusiast Peter Rechniewski, now owner of Sydney jazz club Foundry 616, this worthwhile project has had a positive effect in the national jazz community. He secured funding and provided indispensable work for an all-star octet, which performed this music at prestigious jazz festivals in Melbourne and Sydney in 2014. ABC broadcaster Gerry Koster enabled the music to be recorded. An allstar ensemble includes three horns, rhythm section and iconoclastic violinist Erkki Veltheim.
In a full-blooded romp through Komeda’s music, eight brilliant musicians showcase their individual talents as improvisers. A prime example is trombonist James Greening, whose playing epitomises Sydney’s expansiveness and generosity of spirit. The tearaway saxophonist Andrew Robson is exciting throughout; Ben Hauptmann shows that he can throw the switch to high-energy rock and make the guitar sing. Jonathan Zwartz (double bass) and Evan Mannell (drums) anchor an outstanding rhythm section that includes the ubiquitous Andrea Keller. Her eclectic arrangement of Knife in the Water, from Polanski’s feature film debut, is one of many highlights and, in Bukovsky’s arrangement of Svantetic, she shows that, as a soloist, she can be relied on to produce something distinctively original. Highly recommended.