Krzysztof Komeda
Krzysztof Komeda
April 27, 1931- April 23, 1969
Krzysztof Komeda was born Krzysztof Trzciński  on 27 April 1931 in Poznań. He passed away on 23 April 1969 in Warsaw.  Komeda was a
famous Polish film music composer and jazz pianist and was best known for his film scores for Roman Polanski's films, Rosemary's Baby, The
FearlessVampire Killers, Knife in the Water and Cul-de-Sac.

Komeda's album Astigmatic (1965) is widely acclaimed as among the most important European jazz albums. Critic Stuart Nicholson described
the album as "marking a shift away from the dominant American approach with the emergence of a specific European aesthetic."

He used Komeda as a stage name due to the Communist government's disapproval of jazz. He grew up in Częstochowa,  and earned an A-level
certificate in 1950 at the Male Gymnasium, participated in the Music and Poetry Club, and did pursued further studies in Poznań majoring on

His musical experience began in early childhood and it was his dream to become a renowned virtuoso, becoming a member of the Poznań
Conservatory at the age of eight. Unfortunately the war thwarted his plans. During this period and until 1950, Komeda continued to study music
theory, and learned to play piano. The loss of the past six years made an impact on him and after graduating from the Gymnasium he
embarked on further study in his chosen field - as ear-nose-throat physician.

As fate would have it, Komeda met a colleague of his from the same school, Witold Kujawski, who was already established as a swinging bass
player, and widely successful.  Kujawski introduced Komeda to jazz and took him to Krakow, where his apartment was the hot-spot for jazz jam-
sessions of the biggest names in Polish jazz; musicians such as Matuszkiewicz, Borowiec, Walasek, as well as himself.

Even though Krzysztof Trzciński was a physician, some years had passed before he realized his true calling. His fascination with jazz as well as
his friendship with famous jazz greats solidified his connection to music.  After the war had ended he worked for awhile with a jazz group called
Melomani - whose regulars were Matuszkiewicz, Trzaskowski, and Kujawski.  Later he played with Jerzy Grzewinski's group, which played pop
music but switched to dixieland band.  Komeda appeared with him at the Sopot Jazz Festival in August 1956, but it wasn't until he performed with
saxophonist Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski and vibraphonist Jerzy Milian, that Komeda finally achieved success.  With dixieland, Komeda was out of
his element, and he turned to what fascinated him most - jazz.  As a result, he formed the Komeda Sextet. (It was at this time that he began to
use the stage name, "Komeda" for the first time.  

For some time he tried to hide his interest in jazz from his co-workers (he was working at a laryngological clinic at the time).  Jazz music was
struggling to gain respectability despite communist efforts to disparage the music .

The Komeda Sextet was a musical pioneer in Poland, being the first to play modern jazz.  He was responsible for paving the way for more jazz
groups in Poland.  His music was the synthesis of two of the most popular European jazz groups of the era: The Modern Jazz Quartet and the
Gerry Mulligan Quartet.

Since the Sopot Jazz Festival, Komeda's talent matured and crystallized, becoming more lyrically poetic.  He was at heart a poet, constantly
searching for ways to express jazz in the traditions of Polish music.  He possessed exceptional creativity in creating a poetic atmosphere, and
knew instinctively how to reach wider audiences. His music has an unmistakable style and its own, unique tone.

In years 1956–1962, Komeda participated in numerous Polish festivals but also had years of success with foreign concerts in Moscow,
Grenoble and Paris.  One show was particularly interesting, called "Jazz and Poetry" ,was shown on Jazz Jamboree ’60, and later performed by
the Warsaw Philharmonic.  

At this time Komeda began his adventure with creating music for films.  He composed scores for Roman Polanski, for the 1962 film, Knife in the
Water, for Andrzej Wajda's 1960 film, the Innocent Sorcerers, and for Janusz Morgerstern's 1960 film, "Good Bye Till Tomorrow". Komeda was
much sought after by film directors to create musical scores for their films:  Hennig Carlsen, the famous Danish director, for his movie Hvad Med
Os, and Sult; Tom Segerberg's movie Kattorna, and several Polanski scores.  In total, Komeda wrote more than 70 soundtracks. His crowning
glory was "Ballet Etudes" performed in 1962 on Jazz Jamboree. Though the critics remained rather aloof and unimpressed by it, this
composition opened the door to Komeda's European successes.

In 1960 Komeda made his first tour of Scandinavia, and had returned every year since then. Every one of his performances at the 'Gyliene
Cirkeln' (Golden Cirlce) in Stockhom, and the Montmarte Jazz Club in Copenhagen (scene of famous American jazz concerts) were a
resounding success.

Komeda was signed by Metronome, the Swedish record company  to record his music played by an international quintet: Allan Botschinsky
(trumpet), Jan "Ptaszyn" Wróblewski (tenor saxophone), Krzysztof Komeda (piano), Roman Dyląg (stage name: Gucio; contrabass) and Rune
Carlsson (percussion).

One success after another followed Komeda from Scandinavia, to Prague, Bulgaria, and East and West Germany and Los Angelos. He
remained in L.A.  In December 1968 Komeda suffered a terrible accident which led to a haematoma of his brain.  Several explanations were
bandied about - that he had a car accident, or was pushed off an escarpment by a writer, Marek Hlasko during a party. In his memoirs, Roman
Polanski mentioned some friendly rough-housing between Komeda and Marek resulting in his accidental fall.  Komeda was immediately
transported to Poland (he did not have US medical insurance) but he died tragically as a result of receiving the wrong treatment for the

Komeda had a tremendous influence on jazz, creating a style all his own.  He has often been described as the creator, or rather father of the
Polish school of jazz.  His ingenuity was and continues to be a source of inspiration to many Polish jazz musicians.

The Komeda Jazz Festival was created, and since 1995 has been held on a regular basis to promote young artists.  It also includes an
International Composer's competition.

Selected discography

I Sopot Jazz Festival 1956 (Muza)
Astigmatic (1966 - Muza)
Muzyka Krzysztofa Komedy vol. 1-4 (1974 - Muza)
The Complete Recordings of Krzysztof Komeda vol. 1-23 (1994-98 Polonia Records)
Genius of Krzysztof Komeda vol. 1-14 (1996-2005 Power Bros)


Dwaj ludzie z szafa (1958) aka Two Men and a Wardrobe
Gdy spadaja anioly (1959) aka When Angels Fall
Szklana gora (1960) aka The Glass Mountain
Do widzenia, do jutra (1960) aka Good Bye, Till Tomorrow
Niewinni czarodzieje (1960) aka Innocent Sorcerers
Gros et le maigre, Le (1961) aka The Fat and the Lean
Cmentarz Remu (1961)
Wyrok (1962) aka The Verdict
Ssaki (1962) aka Mammals (USA)
Nóz w wodzie (1962) aka Knife in the Water
Jutro premiera (1962) aka Opening Tomorrow
Zbrodniarz i panna (1963) aka The Criminal and the Lady
Smarkula (1963) aka Teenager
Hvad med os? (1963) aka Epilogue
Plus belles escroqueries du monde, Les (1964)(segment "La Rivière des Diamants") aka World's Greatest Swindles
Kattorna (1965) aka The Cats (USA)
Pingwin (1965) aka Penguin
Prawo i piesc (1966) aka The Law and the Fist
Cul-de-sac (1966)
Markiza de Pompadour (1966)
Przedswiateczny wieczor (1966) aka Evening Before Christmas
Perly i dukaty (1966)
Ping-pong (1966)
Niekochana (1966) aka Unloved
Sult (1966) aka Hunger
Bariera (1966) aka Barrier
The Fearless Vampire Killers: Vampires 101 (1967)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
Départ, Le (1967)
Människor möts och ljuv musik uppstår i hjärtat (1967) aka People Meet
Mia and Roman (1968)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Riot(movie) (1969)
Hør, var der ikke en som lo? (1978) aka Did Somebody Laugh?
Rece do góry (1981) aka Hands Up!
The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002) (from "Rosemary's Baby" and "Lullaby")
Lodz plynie dalej (2004)

source: Wikipedia and You Tube