Tomasz Stanko Navan
Tomasz Stanko trumpet
Marcin Wasilewski piano
Slawomir Kurkiewicz double bass
Michal Miskiewicz drums
As he enters his 6th decade, trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is enjoying the level of recognition that his career long artistry so clearly warrants, and much of it has been stimulated by his recent output for ECM, for whom he has now recorded seven titles as leader. With 2002's Soul of Things and more recent work like Suspended Night and Lontana, his prodigious gift is distilling down into crystalline documents that attest to the power of time, experience and single minded pursuit of the artist's own voice.
Its a voice that readily acknowledges the influence of Miles Davis both in practise and in spirit, and Soul of Things drew unanimous praise for its evocation of the landmark that is Kind of Blue, a comparison not made lightly among jazz aficionados. Stanko wears the mantle with ease, and in his ability to manipulate space and time, his control of group chemistry, and textural shifts from convention to dissonance, its clear a similar alchemy is at work.
His description of his own musical journey as one "from chaos to order, from fury to lyricism" is apt. Like many of his peers, the free music of the 60's exerted a gravitational pull, and his formative years were spent with key European groups like the Globe Unity Orchestra, a lengthy sojourn with Finland's Edward Vesala, and occasional projects with Cecil Taylor. Later, his work with Polish film composer Krzysztof Komeda would stimulate a more reflective aspect, and Stanko's own compositions today carry a similar quality of sombre, film noir.
Like Miles, Stanko has the gift of mentoring, and since 1994, he has fostered an extraordinary trio of young Polish musicians in pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz, with whom he has built an almost telepathic rapport. Still in their early 20's, his protégés have made their own ECM debut and in Kurkiewicz, the label has another pianist of poetic scope.
Between them, these four musicians span the generations and articulate the notion of a European jazz aesthetic with an irresistible clarity. For Stanko, one of its most independent spirits, its just reward for a lifetime's commitment to jazz and its governing principles, the primacy of the individual, freedom borne of discipline and the beauty in discovery.
*The Tomasz Stanko Tour is funded by The Touring Experiment and produced by IMC on behalf of The Soundings Partnership of Limerick and Galway Jazz Societies, Sligo Jazz Project, Moving On Music, Triskel, Mermaid, Solstice , Garter Lane & Source Arts Centres.