Review Summary: Komeda's astigmatic view of jazz music
A cry, no... a longing (that's better!), maybe a struggle, for freedom; that's what jazz is baby! For freedom from an oppressive racist society in the USA, or in this case, from an oppressive communist regime in Poland. Music took form and became an escape route from a prison. Krzysztof Trzciński (a.k.a. Komeda) was one of the first to find it in Europe.
Komeda's emergence into the music industry marked an important detour from the conventional, dominant american way of jazzing to a more poetic, dramatic, eastern european way. His jazz sound was fresh, unconventional and unique. The soul of his music was polish, not american.
Astigmatic is beautiful & complex, but it hasn't lost its beauty in its complexity, as oh-so-many progressive rock or metal records do. In the midst of all the modal playing, uncommon time signatures, free-jazz improvisations, precise forms, tone clusters, aleatoric structures and avant-garde use of timbre and articulation IT'S STILL ROMANTIC. The unpredictability of the instruments while being heavily based on atmosphere gives the record a titanic replay value. The album's atmosphere, as the black-colored album cover suggests, is nocturnal. It sounds mysterious and hypnotic, just like the Moon you may be watching while listening to this album... Suspension is built and then released, but never all at once, but rather, it's done in waves.
Komeda's secret formula is walking the thin line, the golden path, between structure and freedom, technical complexity and pure emotion, orgasmic loudness and gentle silence, and so on...
The Komeda Quintet recorded a musical heaven. It levitates above all the cultural and personal landscape necessary for creating it and transcendentally shines like a gem of art.