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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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ECM 371 3772




Wislawa [10:19], Assasins [7:45], Metafizyka [7:36], Dernier Cri [10:16], Mikrocosmos [8:20], Song for H [4:38]


Oni [6:30], April Story [7:06], Tutaj – Here [8:29], Faces [8:04], A Shaggy Vandal [7:31], Wislawa, var. [13:13]

Tomasz Stanko (trumpet), David Virelles (piano), Thomas Morgan (double-bass), Gerald Cleaver (drums). All music by Tomasz Stanko

ECM 371 3772 [49:17] [50:53]


Having worked with the likes of Jack DeJohnette,Dave Holland, Reggie Workman, Manu Katché and Chico Freeman and as a member of Cecil Taylor's big band in 1984, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko has an enviable reputation. Known as an innovator and credited with leading the first group in Europe to play free jazz he took his inspiration from Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis. Watching Dave Brubeck at the first jazz concert that he attended he saw ‘the jazz light’ and was driven to go to study music at the Cracow Music Academy where he formed his first band in 1962. This 2 cd set of his New York Quartet is a great introduction for anyone who hasn’t yet fallen under the spell of his glorious jazz which led Derek Richardson of the San Francisco Chronicle to declare that “he is one of the most eloquent proponents of extemporaneous lyricism working today.” The music on the two discs was inspired by the poetry of Nobel Prize winning Polish poet Wislawa Symborska with whom Stanko collaborated, who died on 1st February 2012, and is dedicated to her memory. Researching her poems you discover a gentle natured, deeply thoughtful human being who really cared about people and humanity and who detested war and the suffering man inflicts upon man. This is the overwhelming feeling reflected in the music; there are no harsh sounds here, no sharply angular chords, just peaceful, gentle jazz that makes you think rather than leading to a heightened state of excitement and you understand how apt Derek Richardson’s description is. This is music that must be heard, is difficult to describe and I’m not going to deconstruct it. Suffice it to say the music is certainly the most movingly expressive tribute to a poet whose contribution to her nation’s literary heritage was highly prized. The quartet plays with a hauntingly lyrical musical sensitivity with pianist David Virelles making an outstanding contribution; he is someone I’d like to hear a lot more of. The rhythm section comprising Thomas Morgan’s caressingly gentle bass and Gerard Cleaver’s intelligent and incisive drumming are perfect soul mates in this powerfully expressive potion. It goes without saying that Tomasz Stanko’s supremely evocative trumpet weaves a most magical spell over the whole proceedings. I warmly and highly recommend this set which is recorded according to ECM’s famously high standards.

Steve Arloff

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