213

Tomasz Stanko: Dark Eyes

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Tomasz Stanko: Dark Eyes Much of trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's output in the '00s featured the piano trio of countrymen Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz and Michal Miskiewicz. Dark Eyes is a departure—the first recording to feature the Polish icon's new quintet with pianist Alexi Tuomarila, guitarist Jakob Bro bassist Anders Christensen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori.

Bit by bit, the band's seductive rapport and cagey dynamics are revealed: first the rubato portent and spaciousness of "So Nice," then a marked shift to a rock-like beat and cutting Bb-minor ostinato in "Terminal 7," later the spiky unison lines of "Amsterdam Avenue" and even a Stanko piece with no trumpet at all, the hypnotic three-minute sketch "May Sun." The music hews to a strategy of slow development and deferred gratification in "Samba Nova," which isn't a samba until about halfway through its nine-plus minutes. "The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch," another of the longer pieces, undergoes a similar transition from airy rubato to upbeat swing, following a sequence of ensemble melodies and subdued bass improvisations arranged as a call-and-response.

Stanko paid tribute to his late mentor Krzysztof Komeda with his 1997 album Litania (ECM) and there are two Komeda pieces included here as well, "Dirge for Europe" and the ballad "Etiuda Baletowa No. 3." Stanko's version is uncannily reminiscent of "Flamenco Sketches" from Kind of Blue in terms of rhythmic pacing and light/dark harmonic contrasts.

Christensen plays electric bass on Dark Eyes, although his warm, natural tone can lead listeners to think otherwise. Bro's delicate but unmistakably electric guitar adds a sweet sonic expanse, as do Louhivuori's varied percussive textures. The piano sound, too, is glowing—even by ECM's high standards, Dark Eyes boasts uncommonly fine audio. All the better to hear Stanko, who prefers open trumpet even in the hazy, ethereal settings where many players would opt for a mute.


Track Listing: So Nice; Terminal 7; The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch; Grand Central; Amsterdam Avenue; Samba Nova; Dirge for Europe; May Sun; Last Song; Etiuda Baletowa No.3.

Personnel: Tomasz Stanko: trumpet; Alexi Tuomarila: piano; Jakob Bro: guitar; Anders Christensen: bass; Olavi Louhivuori: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Laughing At Life" CD/LP/Track Review Laughing At Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "My Blue Soul" CD/LP/Track Review My Blue Soul
by James Nadal
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "Black Orpheus" CD/LP/Track Review Black Orpheus
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "Cuts" CD/LP/Track Review Cuts
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Natural" CD/LP/Track Review Natural
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!