Komeda: A Private Life in Jazz is the biography of Krzysztof (Trzciński) Komeda (1931-1969), composer of no fewer than 40 soundtracks, including film scores to all of Roman Polański’s early films such as Knife in the Water and Rosemary’s Baby; and a revered figure in the world of jazz, which regards his record, Astigmatic (released in 1966), as a key album in the history of European jazz.
This biography of Komeda, originally published in Polish by Znak in 2018, is the first to be published in the English language and not only traces Komeda’s life, but also the development of Polish jazz during this period. It explores how this arose in large part out of a need for self-expression and personal freedom during a repressive period of Soviet communist dominance.
The book is full of interviews between the biographer and people who worked with and knew Krzysztof Komeda personally, and, while thoroughly-grounded in primary sources, it is written in a playful, questioning, engaging style.
Published: Nov 1, 2020
Reviews of the original Polish edition:
Grzebałkowska has indeed managed to add to our knowledge of Komeda’s life in so many different areas, and this book will now be regarded as a key work – a point of departure for others, and certainly for the creators of the planned film (to be directed by Leszek Dawid and premiered in 2020). Just as the story of the pioneering years of Polish jazz can be told through Komeda’s biography, so, finally, his story has been incorporated into one comprehensive volume.
Bartek Chaciński, Polityka