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Krzysztof Komeda: Google Doodle celebrates Polish film music composer and jazz piano player’s 91st birthday

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krzysztof komeda 92nd birthday google doodle

Google Doodle celebrates the 91st birthday of Polish film music composer and jazz piano player Krzysztof Komeda, who is generally recognized as one of the immortals of Polish music and an influential artist in the history of jazz in Poland, on April 27, 2022.

Who was Krzysztof Komeda?

Krzysztof Komeda

Krzysztof Komeda

Krzysztof Komeda was conceived Krzysztof Trzciński on April 27, 1931 in Poznan, Wielkopolskie, Poland. He was a jazz composer, pianist, and medical doctor.

Komeda began to become familiar with the piano at seven years old and partook in his first jam session at nineteen years old, during a stay in Krakow. He experienced childhood in Częstochowa and Ostrów Wielkopolski wherein 1950 he graduated from ‘liceum (high school) for Boys’.

While a student at the Medical Academy in Poznań, Krzysztof Komeda first played with Jerzy Grzewiński’s Dixieland Band and afterward, in 1952-1954, with the Melomani. Upon graduation in 1955 he joined a Poznań laryngological clinic and, to hide his passion for jazz from his associates, he began to use the name Komeda.

Born Krzysztof Trzciński, he picked Komeda as his stage name just upon graduation from university to distance himself as a jazz musician from his daytime job in a medical clinic.

In 1956, Krzysztof Komeda set up the Komeda Sextet. Krzysztof Trzciński used the stage name ‘Komeda’ for the first time when he worked at a laryngological clinic and wanted to hide his interest in jazz from co-workers. The debut occurred at the opening of the Poznań division of the Polish Television. The Sextet’s first major success at the first Jazz Festival in Sopot in 1956 was followed by a silver medal at the 6th International Youth Festival in Moscow in 1957. That year marked likewise the beginning of Komeda’s lifetime co-operation with Roman Polański.

In 1958, Krzysztof Komeda moved to Krakow and joined Jazz Believers. Soon thereafter he performed at the first Jazz Jamboree Festival, an annual event he wouldn’t miss until 1967. He eventually set up his trio, quartet, and quintet during this decade, turning between similar few trusted musicians to play alongside him.

In 1961, Krzysztof Komeda was associated with the cabaret Tingel-Tangel as a pianist and composer. In 1962 the Krakow Jazz club honored Komeda with its Złoty Helikon award, while readers of the “Jazz” magazine voted him Jazzman of the Year.

Krzysztof Komeda played concerts in Poland and abroad, in Switzerland, East, and West Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. His first trip to Scandinavia in 1960 brought about a series of annual tours.

In 1965 he participated in the renowned project of the German jazz promoter and pundit, Joachim Berendt. In January 1968 Komeda went to the United States to deal with the scores for Rosemary’s Baby and The Riot.

Perhaps best known for his work in film scores, Krzysztof Komeda composed the scores for Roman Polanski’s movies Knife in the Water (1962), Cul-de-sac (1966), and The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), and Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Komeda’s album Astigmatic (1965) is often considered one of the most important European jazz albums. British pundit Stuart Nicholson portrays the album as “marking a shift away from the dominant American approach with the emergence of a specific European aesthetic.”

In general, Krzysztof Komeda composed more than 70 soundtracks. After triumphs in Scandinavia, came further successes: jazz festivals in Prague, Blend, Koenigsberg; toure of Bulgaria and both West and East Germany. Komeda stayed in Los Angeles in 1968 where he composed film music for Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (with one of his most conspicuous compositions, “Rosemary’s Lullaby” sung by Mia Farrow) and Buzz Kulik’s Riot.

In December 1968, in Los Angeles, Krzysztof Komeda had a tragic accident that prompted a hematoma of the brain. In the wake of being shipped home to Poland in a coma and a terminal state, he died on 23 April 1969, aged 37. He was buried at the Powązkowski Cemetery in Warsaw.

As a jazz musician, Krzysztof Komeda exerted a crucial influence on making an original style, frequently depicted as the Polish school of jazz, which consequently impacted the Polish jazz scene’s development after his death. Starting around 1995, the Komeda Jazz Festival has been held regularly, including an International Composers’ Competition. The goal of the competition is to promote young artists.

Krzysztof Komeda’s signature aesthetic and groundbreaking style of jazz composition is as yet celebrated right up ’til now, and his memory is honored by the annual Komeda Jazz Festival in Poland.

On April 27, 2022, Google featured a doodle on its homepage in Poland for celebrating Krzysztof Komeda’s 91st Birthday.

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