Polish violinist, saxophonist and composer Michal Urbaniak played a major role in the development of jazz fusion in the 1970s and 80s. While working in Scandinavia in the 1960’s he met his future wife, Polish singer Urszula Dudziak and formed the foundation of what would later become the group that would stamp its imprint on the jazz world, Michal Urbaniak’s Fusion. Urbaniak moved to New York in 1973. His popularity on the NY scene garnered him a contract with Columbia records and concerts at the Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall. Blending music from his Polish and European roots with the funk and fusion of the Big Apple impelled American and international jazz musicians to experiment with mixing various ethnic musical forms with jazz.
We’ll Remember Komeda
This album is a remembrance of Polish composer/pianist Krysztof Komeda’s music performed by fellow musicians who knew and loved him. Komeda's album Astigmatic (1965) was considered a turning point in European jazz; critic Stuart Nicholson stated it “marked a shift away from the dominant American approach with the emergence of a specific European aesthetic." Yet Komeda is best known for his work in film. He wrote over 70 film scores, including the music for fellow Pole Roman Polanski’s classic films Knife in the Water, Cul de Sac, and Rosemary’s Baby. Five of the players here are jazz legends in their home country of Poland; Michal Urbaniak as well as internationally renowned trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and bassist Roman Dylag worked with Komeda; Urszula Dudziak was the voice in Urbaniak’s famed groups, and Zbigniew Seifert was one of the acknowledged giants of the violin. Choral and Repetition alternates between a dirge-like refrain and frantic modal improvisation, with blistering solos by trumpeter Stanko and Urbaniak on tenor and soprano. Hungarian guitar great Attila Zoller caresses the beautiful ballad No Lovesong at all, whereas Crazy Girl begins in a phantasmagoria of sounds before settling into a swinging beautifully articulated ¾ that descends into a psychic battle between Seifert and Urbaniak. Oh My Sweet European Home consists of a medley of Komeda compositions, with Zoller featured on Canzone For Warschau, Sieverts taking on Witches, Drudziak scatting freely over The Trumpet Player is Innocent, and taking the melody on the hauntingly beautiful Dirge for Europe. Kattorna has a mysterious Mid-Eastern feel with Stanko’s emotive solo, and Urbaniak crying out on tenor sax. Rosemary’s Baby reverberates with a satanic dark angst. A classic album.