Tomasz Stanko Quartet: Lontano (2006)
Perfect chemistry should not be disturbed, and Tomasz Stanko and ECM reprise their winning combination on Lontano. This is the third ECM release with Stanko and his regular trio of pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz. As with the previous two releases, this disc features variations of a tune, in this case the title tune. The band visits "Lontano" three times. In each subsequent interpretation they deconstruct and explore it with agile sensitivity.
While there have been numerous comparisons between Stanko and Miles Davis, I would suggest that the real genius these two players share is their ability to discover talented young musicians and allow them the room to explore and hopefully reach their full potential. The growth of the rhythm section here is quite noticeable when compared to the 2004 release Suspended Night. They have a unique chemistry and work wondrously off of Stanko's distinctive approach.
Lontano is not merely an extension of Suspended Night, but a natural evolution of the ensemble. The playing on this release is more freely improvisational than on its predecessor, but the notes not played are what grab your attention. Through the use of space, Stanko takes the listener on a journey where substance dominates style. The austere sound that dominates the disc is confirmation that one does not need to play an instrument loud and fast to be a virtuoso.
Wasilewski's piano proves to be the perfect foil to Stanko's trumpet, sensitively probing and pushing the music without ever disturbing the milieu that Stanko has created. Miskiewicz and Kurkiewicz provide the anchor which allows the band to explore further and in a more harmonic way than they did on previous releases.
Lontano brings new rewards with each listening as Stanko and the band continue on their recent upward trajectory. This music is at once reflective, melodic, mysterious and expressive. You will not hear a standard or a snatch of the Great American Songbook on this disc, but you will hear one of the most hauntingly original voices in jazz today.
Track Listing: Lontano Part 1; Cyrhia; Song For Ania; Kattorna; Lontano Part 2; Sweet Thing; Trista; Lontano Part 3; Tale.
Personnel: Tomasz Stanko: trumpet; Marcin Wasilewski: piano; Slawomir Kurkiewicz: double bass; Michal Miskiewicz: drums.