Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Adam Simmons, Jean Poole. Zatoczka, Tribute to Komeda


Krzysztof Komeda (1931-1969) was a remarkable composer, pianist and bandleader who made his mark in film scores for Rosemary's Baby and other Polanski titles. But for those who know he was also an influential jazz presence in Poland in the '60s, a pioneer in Eruo-Jazz Modernity. If you ever heard his jazz albums recorded for Muza you know what I mean. But regardless whether you know those are not there is now a nice tribute album out entitled  Zatoczka (Creek)  (Fat Rain FAT021) by the Adam Simmons Creative Music Ensemble, aka Jean Poole.

The album was arranged by Simmons, who plays tenor and soprano in the ensemble, which in turn consists of Simmons and six instrumentalists plus for the project the guest wordless vocals of Deborah Kayser and the piano of Tony Gould.

The program features some 11 Komeda classics, plus three short interludes by Simmons that serve to connect the dots in terms of musical mood. 

Komeda's pieces here as in general feature original, stunning Polish-rooted melodies with harmonic subtleties. The arrangements bring out the ringing or softening clarity of each very well. 

The ensemble handles all quite readily and shows off the sophisticated, sympathetic arrangements nicely. The rhythm section of Howard Cairns on bass and Niko Schauble on drums consistently and freely swing the music with a good feeling. Simmons' sax work and Nat Grant on vibes are quite worth hearing as they invent well within the Komedan style set. Gavin Cornish on trumpet also has some nice solo moments.

If you do not have Komeda's 1966 album on Muza, Astigmatic, you no doubt might want to find it if you can. In any event this tribute covers a lot of excellent music and does it full justice so good for that. I recommend this one as a good bead on Komeda and so also an aspect of Euro-Jazz that deserves more attention than it has been getting lately. Listen!

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