Tribute to Komeda
Michael Urbaniak & Urzula Dudziak Tribute to Komeda LP (MPS, 1976)
Legends in their homeland of Poland, not only are Michael Urbaniak and Urzula Dudziak obscure in the United States, the man they are paying tribute to on this record, Krzysztof Komeda is pretty much unknown. Too bad. While both violinist Urbaniak and vocalist Dudziak have done some hard on crud ears fusion and pop, they've also made some great experimental music. Komeda never delved into fusion or had a Euro pop hit, but he was more important than either of his interpretors. Komeda is pretty much the father of modern Polish jazz. Before his death in 1969, he went from playing dixieland and bebop to running with the sounds of the Modern Jazz Quartet and composing soundtracks with musicians such as the late great Don Cherry, including Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (which Cherry had nothing to do with). Komeda died much too young from complications of a brain haematoma. Urbaniak and Dudziak are still kicking around.
I first heard this record some twenty odd years ago at the apartment of Sacramento poet BL Kennedy. He was a freak for free jazz, especially the vocals of Urzula Dudziak. Though I'd heard my fair share of punk rock screaming and post punk crooning, Dudziak was new to my ears. I can't say I understood the music, as I hadn't yet developed an ear for jazz; but, I did dig the far out-ness of this record. Over the last two decades, I kept an eye out for it. Finally a month ago, I found a copy at the local public radio record sale. A cast off from a library in West Sacramento, it isn't in the greatest shape, but it only cost me a buck and it was one of the few records that I've been semi-actively searching for. Normally, I save the scratchy record posts for genres that can handle the surface noise, however this record is pretty damn scarce and I doubt if I will ever come up with a clean copy. So you get what I get. Hopefully the music will make up for the crackles and pops.