Thursday, April 1, 2010

Krzysztof Komeda - Astigmatic (1966)

Considering the harsh and oppressive social and cultural climate in Poland during the '60s, it's a wonder any of this extraordinary music ever saw the light of day, let alone actually got made. Komeda (born Krzysztof Trzciński in 1931) is more well-known for his film scores than jazz excursions, and especially for his work on the soundtrack for his friend Roman Polanski's movie Rosemary's Baby.

Astigmatic is an interesting find because of the secrecy of these recording sessions, pushing them underground by the Soviet-occupied regime's assertion that jazz was for the bourgeois and avant-garde jazz would incite free thinking. Add to that the sheer isolation of Eastern Bloc countries and their citizens' inability to buy any good "western" music, and what you have is a surprisingly awesome album.

The finest jazz ever made from behind the Iron Curtain...

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