292

Tomasz Stanko Quartet: Lontano

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Tomasz Stanko Quartet: Lontano The Beatles got it wrong. When you're 64, Lennon & McCartney predicted, you'll be ready for the knackers yard. But the lovable moptops were only in their twenties then, like Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, and each had already changed the shape of things, the Beatles with "She Loves You" (1963), Stanko on Astigmatic (1965). It was a young man's world.

But at the near-venerable age of 64, Stanko has recorded a major modern masterpiece: a perfect exploration of the hinterland between freedom and stucture, and the finest exposition ever of his achingly soulful balladry. It is as important an album in Stanko's trajectory as Kind Of Blue, In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew were to Miles Davis. It is, really, that deep and that beautiful.

Lontano is the third album Stanko has made with his supporting trio of young Polish musicians, following Soul Of Things (ECM, 2001) and Suspended Night (ECM, 2003). Rather as did Leosia (ECM, 1996), made with Bobo Stenson (piano), Anders Jormin (bass) and Tony Oxley (drums), it captures a band at a peak of comradeship and creativity, given added piquancy by the disparity in age between leader and other band members.

The core of the album is the collective improvisation, "Lontano," whose three parts total forty minutes. It's here that the perfect symmetry of the group is most awesomely displayed. Pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz were fast off the blocks five years ago. Today they're Olympian. Interactive enough to follow Stanko beat for beat when it feels right, and confident enough to adjust the collective rudder individually from time to time. This is free music at its most harmonious and cohesive, and it is ineffably wonderful.

Elsewhere, Stanko references Litania (1997), his celebration of the music of the Polish composer, and Stanko's own mentor, Krzysztof Komeda (Rosemary's Baby, Knife In The Water and much more). "Kattorna," first recorded by Stanko on the Krzysztof Komeda Quintet's Astigmatic, brings a bracing reminder of Komeda's jumpy, jittery, Iron Curtain noir to the album. The other departure is the appropriately named "Sweet Thing," all sun and smiles and decollatage.

Most artists, of course, never get to make an album of this stature. Stanko has made a mind-melting three—Lontano, Leosia and Litania—all of them during his mature years. So will we still be sending him a Valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine? I think so.

Visit Tomasz Stanko on the web.


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.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Spirit Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Spirit Forward
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Wisdom Of Elders" CD/LP/Track Review Wisdom Of Elders
by James Nadal
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Fourmation" CD/LP/Track Review Fourmation
by John Ephland
Published: March 27, 2016
Read "Antenna" CD/LP/Track Review Antenna
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 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!