Joachim Kühn New Trio – Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XIV – Komeda (ENG review)

Atom String Quartet – Chris Jennings – Eric Shaeffer // Street date: June 30th 2023
Joachim Kühn New Trio – Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XIV – Komeda (FR review)

Joachim Kühn is one of the greatest European composers and pianists. For a few years now, he has been touring as a trio with two excellent musicians, bassist Chris Jennings and drummer Eric Schaeffer. This time, they are featured in the prestigious ACT label’s “Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic” collection, delivering once again an exceptional album.
Krzysztof Komeda has legendary status in Polish jazz and was one of the pioneers of European jazz. His broader fame largely rests on his work as a film composer—he wrote the soundtracks for all of Roman Polanski’s early films, including “The Fearless Vampire Killers” and “Rosemary’s Baby.” Komeda died tragically young in 1969 at the age of only 37, but left an extremely influential body of work. Joachim Kühn, now an icon of jazz piano in his own right, is a great admirer of Komeda, whom he met in person in Warsaw in 1965. As part of the Jazz at the Philharmonie Berlin concert series, organized by Siggi Loch, he gave a major tribute concert to Komeda on October 14, 2022, during which he played in three formats: solo piano, with his new trio, and alongside the Polish string quartet Atom.
At Joachim Kühn’s, everything is about passions and encounters, and we can only thank him for reintroducing us to the composer Komeda, whom practically only film buffs know by name for the aforementioned films. Komeda’s music is not easy to interpret, and Kühn’s choice of this composer imbues the trio with a sense of exemplarity that is well-deserved.
Eric Schaeffer takes advantage of the opportunity to slip into the role of drummer/ percussionist, with all the talent and lightness that we know him for, while our friend Chris Jennings brings a devilishly groovy sound to this album. Amidst it all, the king Joachim Kühn shines as never before, remarkable in every way, and I always enjoy listening to him. For me, he is certainly the best current European pianist, thanks to whom we also discover this excellent Polish string group, Atom.
Komeda merged Polish folk music and its tradition of melismatic singing with the characteristics of jazz, becoming one of the great lyrical and melodic voices of mid-20th century music. His premature death in an accident made him a cult figure in his native country. In his final years, Komeda focused mainly on film music, and Roman Polanski took him to Hollywood in 1967. One of the highlights of his jazz work was undoubtedly the album “Astigmatic,” recorded in 1965 during a single night session with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, among others.
All of these reasons make Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move’s editorial teams classify this excellent album as “Indispensables.”

Thierry De Clemensat
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move

PARIS-MOVE, May 15th 2023


To order the CD

Bandcamp de ACT Records

on Steinway & Sons’ website