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Jazz - Released February 8, 2013 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio - Sélection JAZZ NEWS - Stereophile: Recording of the Month
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Jazz - Released March 31, 2017 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Jazz - Released August 25, 2006 | ECM

The change of direction on Lontano, the third release by Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and his three young collaborators -- Marcin Wasilewski (piano), Slawomir Kurkiewicz (bass), and Michal Miskiewicz (drums) -- is startling. Whereas Soul of Things (2002) and Suspended Night (2004) focused on Stanko's increasing sense of balladry and structurally harmonic, assonant atmospheres, Lontano showcases a band confident enough after playing for five years to find real space for free improvisation. Recorded in the south of France instead of Oslo, producer Manfred Eicher works his name magic and allows stillness and silence to play as much a role as the performers engaging one another musically. The opening title track is the first of three such excursions with the title "Lontano." Here, Wasilewski's piano opens the door and allows for the band to haltingly and carefully enter the tune, contributing economically until a groove eventually develops out of one of Stanko's balladic ideas. Ever so slowly the beat becomes circular and focused, the band vamps on it, gradually gaining in intensity until it threatens to fall apart. But it never does. Instead the band winds it way back down into silence. "Cyrhia" begins as a thoughtful, hesitant ballad, but once more finds its way out into the world, entering it as a near-modal blues. "Kattorna" was originally performed by the Krzysztof Komeda group on its influential -- and groundbreaking -- album Astigmatic in 1965. Its angularity has been rounded off, but its sense of adventure is retained and Stanko's own economical style on playing, and then playing around its lyric line, is impressive, as is Kurkiewicz's empathic bassline. The other two "Lontano" pieces, at the middle and near the end of the disc, represent a kind of improvisation that actually sings. The interplay between the trio members and Stanko is instinctive. It's not nearly so hesitant and ranges farther than on "Lontano I." Lyricism and melodic ideas are never sacrificed in this kind of improvisation, but the playing is so free it nearly leaves the realm of jazz altogether. This is outside playing with heart, tenderness, and quiet beauty in its marrow. The silences on "Lontano III," are so vast, it's as if the listener can enter and remain inside any one of them. Indeed, this is music as poetry itself, a pure language at once crystalline and dreamy. The set closes with "Tale," a piece Stanko recorded on his ECM debut in 1975. This version reflects restraint in its more euphoric spaces. The idea of story comes from the slowly unfolding piano chords of Wasilewski, who urges the trumpeter on to solo until the end, not so much of the piece, but until the story is complete. Lontano is at once the distillation of 40 years of European vanguard jazz history, and at once the key in the door of the lock where it enters the world not as a music categorized by its instrumentation or personnel, but as music itself; where harmonics, space, and the improvisational language expressed in it transcends genre and classification. This band is simply astonishing, and Lontano is their most adventurous and cohesive recording yet. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 2, 2004 | ECM

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Jazz - Released October 9, 2009 | ECM

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Jazz - Released March 5, 2002 | ECM

4 stars out of 5 - "...A fundamental suite showcasing Stanko's maturity as a trumpeter, composer and bandleader, SOUL OF THINGS is a spiritual success." © TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 17, 1997 | ECM

As ECM recordings go, Leosia is one of the label's, and certainly trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's, definitive introspective and sedate musical statements. Not that in either instance these qualities have been in short supply, but here those themes of lush romanticism, thinly veiled mysticism, and pure ethereal thought could not be more concentrated or emphasized. As sparse a brass player as there is in contemporary improvised music, Stanko takes it even further with hushed tones and thoughtful, fully formed melodies, reinforced by the always lovely piano playing of Bobo Stenson, able bassist Anders Jormin, and the reined-in drumming of the usually energetic Tony Oxley. The CD is bookended by the entire group performing together, but in the middle, duets and trios provide the center section of their boldly extraterrestrial improvisations. In the full quartet setting, the self-explanatory "Morning Heavy Song" sets a sad, funeral tone, followed by the duality of time faster than the melody lines in "Die Weisheit Von Le Comte Lautreamont" and "A Farewell to Maria" in a free-floating final parting. Five smaller groupings feature Oxley's tiny cymbal and percussive flickings with Jormin's bowed bass on "Brace," and "Trinity" with Stenson added, while Stanko swings "Forlorn Walk" in a free bop mode alongside Jormin and Oxley, but "Hungry Howl" and "No Bass Trio" continue the reflective sounds. The conclusionary "Euforila" and the title selection exude hope at the outset, but a somber mood returns, although Stanko's bolder trumpet asks more loudly for attention, and Stenson's piano rambles a bit in non-plussed disbelief. Clearly a project moved by the death of a friend, it is a reminder of how life is fleeting, and words unspoken until it is too late can muster these feelings of abject regret. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 1, 1997 | ECM

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Jazz - Released October 4, 1999 | ECM

From the Green Hill is Tomasz Stanko's ECM follow-up to the deservedly acclaimed Litania - The Music of Kryzsztof Komeda. The Polish composer and trumpeter (and former Komeda sideman) teams up with countrywoman Michelle Makarski, ECM stalwarts saxophonist John Surman, bandoneon king Dino Saluzzi, drum god Jon Christensen, and bassist Anders Jormin. The set is comprised mainly of Stanko originals, but there are also compositions by Surman, and two by Komeda, including "Litania." This chamber jazz sextet draws heavily on European jazz influences naturally, but also from Eastern Europe's folk traditions. In this way, Komeda's influence is clearly felt throughout the recording, even on Surman's "Domino." But it is also fair to say that Stanko was there with Komeda at the beginning, and his devotion to the folk traditions of his region had an equally big impact on the late composer though both men were firmly committed to the jazz idiom as the only means of expression for their kind of music. Both men sought to identify the music their group played with their homeland and Eastern Europe. Interestingly, this notion brings out the international aspirations of each musician on the date. On "Litania," Saluzzi moves the interval enough to shift the melody to make it an Italian funeral song. With "Stone Ridge," that follows, Makarski opens Surman's piece with a wistful Hungarian lilt in her violin line, before Stanko's muted trumpet and Surman's bass clarinet wind around each other in a slower than slow counterpoint that brings in Saluzzi's bandoneon with the melody. It's an old modal-sounding piece, which is narrow in its dynamic range but rich in texture and nuance before it turns itself into a gypsy polka. Surman tries his hand at some Dave Tarras klezmer lines on the big clarinet, and the piece evolves again into a post-Miles jazz vamp. Christensen is without doubt the greatest drummer in ECM's regular stable -- yes, that includes Paul Motian. His style is one of the unobtrusive percussionists. He plays like crazy, elegantly weaving and sweeping through the band's changes and never once stutters or, as so many drummers are wont to do, draws any attention himself. His humility is truly remarkable for a percussionist of his caliber. On Stanko's "Love Theme From Farewell to Marie," a blues tune in A minor, Stanko plays with the rhythm section for a bit before Makarski weaves her way in a knot at a time, and Jormin creates a harmonic bond with her. When Saluzzi starts to fill out the changes, he shifts the architecture of the tune so that when Surman slips in, the tone and mode -- let alone the rhythm of these blues -- has become darker, deeper, and mellifluous in its timbral richness and harmonic elegance. Over 14 tunes, Tomasz Stanko reveals once again why he is a bandleader of great authority and integrity. This is an ensemble of powerful individuals and no less than three composers among them. Stanko's arrangements are carried out with equanimity and grace as well as precision and musicality. The result is an album that, while not as attention grabbing as Litania, is as musically inventive and challenging as its predecessor, and wholly more satisfying than most of what comes from Eastern Europe in the name of jazz at the end of the 20th century. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 3, 1997 | ECM

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Jazz - Released April 1, 1976 | ECM

In one of the more unique groupings of musicians from the ECM stable, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko assembled his fellow countryman Tomasz Szukalski on tenor and soprano saxes, British bassist Dave Holland, and Finnish drummer/percussionist Edward Vesala to play contemporary jazz with a distinct Euro-classical chamber feel. Those who are familiar with the music of Kenny Wheeler will hear an immediate connection, as Stanko and this ensemble employ techniques of free-floating moods and lightly soaring sounds, with Holland's anchoring bass prodding the slight rhythms forward. The beauty of this concept is in how the quartet plays from an inward direction, with few direct jazz references save improvisation. It's also not an entire program of ballads or terpsichore, as the title suggests. "First Song" is an energetic spirit song with a Native American feel via Holland's insistent bass, with the outspoken horns forming unique sonic footprints. The slightly singsong motifs of "Num" and "Last Song" are the most reminiscent of Wheeler's distinctive style, the former an easier blues-based theme, the latter led by Vesala's solos similar to a rumbling Jack DeJohnette, leading to a tandem melody akin to a requiem. "Tale" and "Duet" are improvisations: a low-key, earth-tone concept featuring Vesala's shakers and Holland's bass alongside Stanko; and a short and serene feature for bass and trumpet only. The title track is a slightly whimsical but ultimately sad ballad with the two horns in mourning agreement, while the finale, "Nenaliina," is a showcase for Vesala's specialty, as splashed cymbals and resonant gongs lead to more free-flowing horn lines in no time, and then two duets, one between Szukalski and Holland and the other featuring Stanko with the drummer. This is Stanko's fifth recording as a leader, and as pleasant as it is to listen to all the way through, it is equally satisfying, and lies deep within the souls of these four adroit and accomplished musicians playing together as one. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 8, 2013 | ECM

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Jazz - Released September 1, 1995 | ECM

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Jazz - Released January 26, 2004 | ECM

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Jazz - Released March 31, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

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Jazz - Released February 2, 2004 | ECM

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Power Bros

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Jazz - Released October 29, 2018 | WM Poland - WMI

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Jazz - Released October 29, 2018 | WM Poland - WMI

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Classical - Released September 28, 2018 | WM Poland - WMI