Jazz Research Journal, Vol 6, No 2 (2012)

Crossing the curtain: Polish jazz meets poetry in the europäische Heimat

Zbigniew Granat
Issued Date: 19 Dec 2013

Abstract


This article focuses on a little-known collaboration of West German producer Joachim E. Berendt with Polish composer and pianist Krzysztof Komeda that resulted in a 1967 album entitled Meine süsse europäische Heimat: Dichtung und Jazz aus Polen. Released as part of Berendt’s series ‘Jazz und Lyric’, this extended musico-poetic work of Komeda attempted to cross the Iron Curtain and deliver a sombre commentary on Poland’s political situation. The article offers the first source-based analysis of Komeda’s project, including its transnational ‘message’ and musical style. I discuss the nationalistic aspects of the work, coded in the strongly political texts by Poland’s well-known poets, and analyse select tracks that articulate the conceptual realm of the ‘European Country’ encapsulated in the work’s title. I demonstrate that Komeda’s work succeeds as a transnational statement mainly because its message was embedded in an advanced musical language that fused the African-American impulse with European sensibilities.

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DOI: 10.1558/jazz.v6i2.201

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