Jazz: Wislawa by Thomasz Stanko New York Quartet

Jazz: Wislawa by Thomasz Stanko New York Quartet

Jazz

WISLAWA

Thomasz Stanko New York Quartet

ECM

Rating: 3/5

Polish trumpeter Thomasz Stanko's career dates back to the 1970s. Like many others, he started off idolising Miles Davis. By now, he has forged a reputation as one of Europe's leading exponent of post-bop and free jazz.

The 12 new Stanko compositions, which have a total running time of 100 minutes, are inspired by Wislawa Szymborska - poet, essayist, 2012 Nobel Laureate for Literature and Stanko's compatriot.

Now splitting his time between New York City and Warsaw, Stanko's latest CD features his New York quartet. His tone runs the gamut of expressiveness and he can switch from one mode of utterance to another in an instant. The compositions, frequently brooding in character, are similarly mercurial. The melodies are elusive. Some are elegiac (April Story), others blaze with ferocious intensity (Assassins).

The music challenges the listener, withholding easy gratification. Collectively, it all adds up to an earnest and self-conscious, if immaculately crafted, whole. In other words, it is entirely consistent with the sensibility of ECM, for whom Stanko has been recording, on and off, since 1976.


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