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English Section

Biography of Polish jazz great Krzysztof Komeda published in UK

23.10.2020 15:59
“Komeda: A Private Life in Jazz” is the title of a biography of Krzysztof Komeda, the prominent Polish jazz pianist and composer, which was published in the UK earlier this month.
Krzysztof Komeda.
Krzysztof Komeda. Photo: PAP/CAF/archiwum

Written by award-winning Polish journalist and author Magdalena Grzebałkowska, it was published by Equinox, in a translation by Halina Maria Boniszewska.

In a review of the 460-page book, Chris Parker wrote in London Jazz News: “Komeda: A Private Life in Jazz is commendably thorough, containing a painstakingly researched catalogue of his jazz collaborations, early gigs, foreign engagements, struggles to establish himself as a film composer, and his eventual emergence as the most important figure on the Polish contemporary jazz scene. It also chronicles his somewhat turbulent relationship with his wife Zofia, the odd extra-marital affair, his love of skiing and fast cars, and his estrangement from his parents. […] this is a valuable study of a uniquely influential figure.”

Krzysztof Komeda (real name Krzysztof Trzciński) was born in 1931 in the Polish city of Poznań.  A child prodigy, he was admitted to the piano class of the city’s conservatory at the age of eight.

After the war he developed a career as a jazz pianist and composer. He also completed medical studies and for some time worked as a physician.

In December 1968, while in Los Angeles to work on the soundtrack for Roman Polanski’s movie Rosemary’s Baby, Komeda had a tragic accident which led to a brain haemorrhage.

He was flown back to Poland, but failed to recover, and died in a Warsaw hospital in April 1969, aged 38.  Komeda’s credits also include Polanski’s film Knife in the Water.