The band name WM Project nods to the first letter in the surnames of pianist Andrzej Winnicki and tenor saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna, who are longtime collaborators. They performed together in Europe in the 1980s before relocating to the United States, and in the 1990s, they were members of the band Electric Breakwater. Also, they were both in the band the Komeda Project, which was dedicated to the music of Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda and recorded a few albums, including 2009’s Requiem. For their new band’s debut, the pianist and saxophonist have assembled a terrific lineup: trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, trombonist Marshall Gilkes, guitarist Rafal Sarnecki, bassist Jeff Dingler and drummer Michael Winnicki
Plenty has been written about European musicians approaching the American jazz tradition; it's far rarer to hear about American musicians bringing their heritage to distinctly European projects. Capitalizing on the critical acclaim for its debut Crazy Girl, pianist/composer/arranger Andrzej Winnicki and saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna - the driving force behind Komeda Project—bring trumpeter Russ Johnson back for their new CD Requiem. What makes Requiem different, however, and a significant evolution over Crazy Girl, is the enlistment of über-bassist Scott Colley and the equally ubiquitous drummer Nasheet Waits.
Like Crazy Girl, Requiem's primary focus is to bring the music of the late, legendary Polish composer/pianist Krzysztof Komeda (Rosemary’s Baby; Knife in the Water) into the new millennium with fresh arrangements, but this time the approach is far more open-ended
For their new band’s debut, the pianist and saxophonist have assembled a terrific lineup: trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, trombonist Marshall Gilkes, guitarist Rafal Sarnecki, bassist Jeff Dingler and drummer Michael Winnicki, who is Andrzej’s son. “Looking Ahead”—an Electric Breakwater tune that has been recast in an arrangement that features Pelt—displays the muscularity of a large ensemble and the nimbleness of a combo. Michael Winnicki’s “Das Bounce” illustrates the band’s mastery of shifting moods and time signatures, while Andrzej Winnicki’s buoyant “Praeludium” offers driving momentum, a potent bass line and a horn riff that becomes an earworm
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Intermediate to advanced