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Tomasz Stanko Quartet: September Night

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Tomasz Stanko Quartet: September Night
How sorely Tomasz Stańko is missed. When he passed in 2018, his career had spanned practically the entire lifetime of homegrown Polish jazz, kicking off approximately with the Dave Brubeck Quartet's seminal tour of Poland in 1958, three years after the ban on jazz had been lifted by the country's ruling Communist Party. For Stańko, aged 16, Brubeck's tour was a Damascene moment, as it was for a whole generation of Polish musicians. Stanko was still resident in Poland when the dead hand of Moscow was finally pried from the controls in 1989. Aside from his own glorious discography, Stańko played in a multitude of settings ranging from Krzysztof Komeda's noir soundtracks for director Roman Polanski's noir masterpieces of the 1960s, through to extensive work with Cecil Taylor in the 1980s. Stańko was a man for all seasons, and whatever the context, his signature rough tone brought quiet drama and a degree of existential pain to the music being made.

An intensely lyrical player, Stanko was among the greatest ever mixologists of on-the-hoof melodicism and free improvisation. This rare talent shines through September Night, a corker of an album. It was recorded live (by ECM founder Manfred Eicher) in Munich in 2004, and twenty years later is getting its first release. Stańko leads his stellar new millennial Quartet—pianist Marcin Wasilewski, double bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz, drummer Michal Miskiewicz—with whom he recorded three outstanding studio albums: Soul Of Things (ECM, 2002), Suspended Night (ECM, 2004) and Lontano (ECM, 2006). September Night was recorded between Suspended Night and Lontano and the Quartet can be heard moving some distance away from the structured lyricism of the first, while remaining connected, towards the freer approach of the second.

All seven pieces were composed by Stańko with the exception of "Kaetano," a group creation. It is impossible to pull out highlights, because the entire album is near perfect. But, under extreme duress, one might point to the joyous, dancing "Celina," at 10:43 the longest track—a live version from 2005 is on the YouTube below—and the loving "Song For Sarah," previously heard on Suspended Night, plus the pensive closer, "Theatrical." The disc comes in just shy of 60 minutes, every one of them a winner.

Track Listing

Hermento’s Mood; Song For Sarah; Euforila; Elegant Piece; Kaetano; Celina; Theatrical.

Personnel

Album information

Title: September Night | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: ECM Records


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