Today’s Doodle honours Krzysztof Komeda, a well-known film composer, jazz pianist, and medical doctor from Poland, who turns 91 today. Despite never having received professional training in composition, harmony, or orchestration, he is widely regarded as one of the immortals of Polish music and an influential performer in the history of Polish jazz.
Komeda grew up surrounded by music, beginning piano lessons at the age of seven and playing in his first jam session at the age of nineteen. He kept his love of music hidden from his classmates at the Medical Academy in Pozna because it was frowned upon for medical professionals to listen to western music. Then he decided to utilise his childhood moniker, Komeda, as his artistic alter-ego.
In 1956, the rising jazz star launched his Komeda Sextet at the 1st Jazz Festival in Sopot, where they had their first great success. They won a silver medal at the 6th International Youth Festival in Moscow the following year. During this decade, he formed his own trio, quartet, and quintet, alternating between the same few trusted musicians to play alongside him.
Throughout Europe and the world, Komeda’s impact and success as a composer grew throughout the 1960s. He composed over 40 film compositions, was nominated Jazzman of the Year by “Jazz” magazine, and published the critically praised “Astigmatic” album. The record is largely regarded as his best work, and it solidified his reputation as one of Europe’s founding fathers of jazz.
Komeda’s trademark aesthetic and innovative style of jazz composition are still celebrated today, and the yearly Komeda Jazz Festival in Poland is dedicated to his memory.
Happy Birthday Krzysztof Komeda!