224

Tomasz Stanko: Suspended Night

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Tomasz Stanko: Suspended Night No matter how much you like a record, after repeat listenings it runs the risk of becoming almost too familiar. As adventurous as it may be, the very nature of the recording process, where every note and texture is given permanency, can cause even the best albums to lose their sense of adventure and immediacy. Not so with Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, whose catalogue since returning to ECM in the mid-'90s has been characterized by daring imagination and a distinctive vernacular. His latest release, Suspended Night , joins the rest of his ECM output as an album that sounds new every time it is played; each spin sounds like the first time. And that's as strong an accolade as one can give.

Stanko reconvenes the same group that played on '02's marvelous Soul of Things : pianist Marcin Wasilewski, double-bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michael Miszkiewicz, also known as Simple Acoustic Trio. Much has been written about how Stanko took these young players under his wing while they were still in their teens (they are now in their mid-twenties), and groomed them into what is arguably the most in synch support he has ever had. As simpatico as they were on Soul of Things , two years of extensive touring has honed them into an even stronger ensemble, at once capable of expressive bursts of freedom and moments of dark beauty.

With the exception of the opening track, the characteristically melancholy "Song for Sarah," the rest of Suspended Night follows the same format as Soul of Things ; numbered variations. Why Stanko avoids song titles is a mystery, but one could suppose that, like on Soul of Things , he continues to mine the same spirit, the same soul and so track titles become meaningless.

Once again Stanko and the group explore, with few exceptions, medium and slow tempos, although there is a little more fire on this record. "II" and "V' are up- tempo, but still fit in with the rest of the programme by virtue of their dark nature; "VIII," however, is almost optimistic, and that is something new for Stanko. Perhaps the international interest that has been growing since the release of Soul of Things has something to do with it; still, the majority of the record continues to examine darker corners and is sometimes, as in the case of "X," downright bleak.

It is almost pointless to discuss the performances. Stanko, with his raspy yet rich sound, is as broodingly lyrical as ever; the rest of the group are evolving as accompanists and soloists. Wasilewski, always an impressionistic player, is surprisingly outgoing on the up-tempo tracks, and Miszkiewicz delivers an uncharacteristically powerful solo over the ostinato of "II." The strength of the group is their ability to be both abstract and accessible at the same time; Suspended Night manages to make the brooding beautiful, the haunting attractive; and is another entry in a continuing series of musical triumphs for Stanko.


Track Listing: Song for Sarah; Suspended Variations: I-X.

Personnel: Tomasz Stanko: trumpet; Marcin Wasilewski: piano; Slawomir Kurkiewicz: double-bass; Michal Miszkiewicz: drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Rising Colossus" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Colossus
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Jaco Pastorius" CD/LP/Track Review Jaco Pastorius
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Being Playing" CD/LP/Track Review Being Playing
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: April 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!