Kuba Stankiewicz plays Henryk Wars’ music. Album premiere

Last year, Three jazzmen met in a recording studio in Los Angeles. Residents of Wrocław – pianist Kuba Stankiewicz and double bass virtuoso Darek Oleszkiewicz (living in the USA) with American drummer Peter Erskine released the third album with music of Polish composer who worked in Hollywood. Listen to Henryk Wars’ standards.

  • kuba stankiewicz music of henryk wars

    Cover of the new album by Kuba Stankiewicz "The Music of Henryk Wars"

  • kuba stankiewicz henryk wars

    Kuba Stankiewicz photographed in Wrocław by Tomasz Walków

  • Darek Oleszkiewicz, Kuba Stankiewicz, Peter Erskine

    Darek Oleszkiewicz, Kuba Stankiewicz, Peter Erskine

  • Kuba Stankiewicz Darek Oleszkiewicz henryk wars

    Kuba Stankiewicz, Darek Oleszkiewicz at the Tritone Studio, Los Angeles

  • peter erskine henryk wars

    Peter Erskine at the Tritone Studio, Los Angeles

Victor Young? An American, of course

A few years ago, Kuba Stankiewicz asked his students in Music Academy if they know that Victor Young, ”Stella By Starlight”’s author, was a Polish, they were surprised.  But not only them, a lot of people in Poland do not realize that hit played by well-known Miles Davis was composed by musician born in Poland, graduate of the Warsaw Conservatory. On the other hand, his compositions are well known by jazzmen, but few of them can relate them with Poland.

Just as with Bronisław Kaper (Miles David was fascinated by his “On Green Dolphin Street”), Oscar laureate for “Lili” musical. Kuba Stankewicz decided to remind about jazz legacy of incredible composers, recording music albums with standards of Young and Kaper in cooperation with Darek Oleszkiewicz and Peter Erskine. – It is a Polish contribution to global culture, we should be proud of him – reminds Wroclaw’s pianist.

Henryk Wars discovers jazz

A project of discovering forgotten composers was divided into three albums. An album with Henryk Wars’ music has just been released, author of hits like “Miłość Ci wszystko wybaczy” (”Love Forgives All”) or “Ach, jak przyjemnie” (”Ah! It's So Pleasant”) sang by entire inter-war Poland. Born in the capital as Henryk Warszawski, he discovered jazz already at a very young age. In the past, he brang gramophone to Roman Statkowski, his professor in the conservatory and showed him jazz album, but pedagogue threw him out of the door. Wroclaw’s artist is sure that professor Statkowski, despite the reluctance to music innovations, was a real mentor for his students (also Victor Young). – He influenced on their harmonic awareness, thanks to classes they feel comfortable in every genre – Stankiewicz has no doubt.

From Warsaw to Hollywood

Wars’ talent manifested itself in many popular melodies that were disseminated by famous polish actors (Hanka Ordonówna or Eugeniusz Bodo).

Wars survived the war playing on army’s trail of general officer Anders (“Po mlecznej drodze”/”Along the Milky Way” was created in Persia), after the war, he decided to stay in the USA, although during the first years it was hard to subsist. – He copied the notes, worked odd jobs and then his talent was noticed and he started to compose music among others to John Wayne’s westerns – says Kuba Stankiewicz. In 1963, he wrote music and song to ”Flipper”/“Mój przyjaciel delfin” film about family befriended with dolphin. – When Wars got an offer he asked: So I have to write a music about fish? He was not impressed.

- However, the melody was liked by the audience. When a drummer Peter Erskine heard “Flipper” he started to sing a theme because when he was a child he was in love with this movie and she said: We have to record it – says Kuba Stankiewicz. Wroclaw’s artist spent half a night arranging jazz version. It was not planned to put “Flipper” into the album before. The album includes also a modern version of beautiful song “Over and Over and Over”. In 1967, when Henryk came to Poland for the first time after the war, he recorded that song with famous polish singer Anna German.

“The Music of Henry Wars” album includes Polish compositions (like a big hit “Miłość Ci wszystko wbaczy”/"Love Forgives All" and American (among others “Let the Chips Fall”). – We decided for that album because Wars had two simultaneous lives – Polish and American. People in Poland do not know his American compositions and in the USA do not know Polish ones. We try to change it – adds Kuba Stankiewicz

In September this year will be the 40th anniversary of Henryk Wars’ death who should be better associated, not only in Poland. - The purpose of our album is to demonstrate that his every composition is very good and could be a part of a real book - says Kuba Stankiewicz.