Leszek Kułakowski – grand piano
Piotr Wojtasik – trumpet (01, 02, 03)
Tomasz Dąbrowski – trumpet, flugelhorn (04, 05, 06, 09)
Christoph Titz – trumpet, flugelhorn (07, 08)
Adam Kowalewski – double bass
Tomasz Sowiński – drums
& Polish Philharmonic Orchestra SINFONIA BALTICA
Radosław Droń – conductor
All compositions by Krzysztof Komeda.
All arrangements by Leszek Kułakowski.
Modest, reserved, detached from himself and the world. That’s Leszek. Hard struggle and image-building "at any cost" is not for him. So many times we’ve pondered to which of the many lineups that have had the honor of playing with him he should lend his name… His orchestral pieces like Missa Miseri Cordis and The Discreet Charm of Consonances are already classics. Komeda Variations is a special album. We give you Komeda, the spirit of Stańko, and Kułakowski the great pianist and master of truly creative arrangements. KOMEDA: Kułakowski’s idol also because of that "detachment", but mainly because of his lyrical music drawing from native folklore and speaking with an emotional voice. He calls Komeda the "Chopin of Jazz". The premiere performance of Trzciński’s film music featuring the Łódź Philharmonic conducted by Andrzej Zubek took place at the Lutheran Church in 2001. These totally unique symphony orchestra arrangements of some of Komeda’s musical gems were written by none other than Leszek KUŁAKOWSKI. Tomasz STAŃKO was the soloist back then. "I was sitting nervously in the front seat of the church, completely on edge. The concert was phenomenal. Stańko, as always, surpassed himself and added many new qualities to Komeda’s music and my arrangements" – recalls Kułakowski. He returned to the project almost twenty years later, making minor changes to the score and adding an improvising jazz quartet. The result: a concert for the 25th Komeda Jazz Festival in Słupsk (2019). So as not to lose any of Stańko’s interpretation, he invited as many as three great trumpeters fluent in precisely this musical idiom. The excellent Sinfonia Baltica was conducted by Radosław Droń. If you think this is just another "symphonic version of X" album, you’re wrong! The symphony orchestra does not provide a pretty background; on the contrary, they engage in dialogue with the fiery jazz quartet, initiating and co-creating the work. As for the art of arrangement (as opposed to tuned transcription), it should be taught on the example of precisely this composition. What you get is definitely some true Kułakowski content in music by Komeda. "In my rearranged variations – Kułakowski remarks – I did my best to preserve the spirit, essence and mood of Trzciński’s music, show the symphony musicians’ color and technique, and also reinterpret Komeda in the language of my own sensibility. The concert was a bridge across almost two decades, which means… Komeda’s music doesn’t age, it’s
always young and attractive". This is one of the most important jazz albums of recent years: a jewel in the crown of Leszek Kułakowski’s achievements. (For Tune®)
released October 23, 2020
Recorded live October 25th, 2019 in the Concert Hall of the Polish Philharmonic Sinfonia Baltica (at the XXV Komeda Jazz Festival) in Słupsk (Poland).
Recording engineers: Leszek Ebel, Dariusz Michalski, Bartosz Kalwasiński, Alicja Pettke
Mix & Master: Marek Heimbürger
Design: For Tune®
Cover photo: Andrew Ostrovsky/Depositphotos.com
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