Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tomasz Stańko - Chameleon (1989) by Maciej Nowotny

My unofficial complete discography of Tomasz Stańko continues with the record titled Chameleon printed originally in Greece in 1989 and only in 2006 in Poland. Why in Greece? Thanks to Apostolis "Lakis" Anthimos, multi instrumentalist (guitars, drums) who at those times lived in Greece and managed to find there producer willing to invest money in this session. Two above mentioned musicians are accompanied on this CD by Janusz Skowron playing keyboards, mainly Roland as far as I can hear.
Eighties were the most erratic and self-destructive period in Stańko life mainly due to situation in Poland which suffered depression under martial law imposed by Gen. Jaruzelski in 1981 in order to suppress Solidarity movement. After seventies when he played state-of-art European version of Ornette Coleman free jazz, in next decade Stańko flirted with pop, electronic music, rock and even reggae starting with recordings titled C.O.C.X. (can be translated into English as D.O.P.E.) and Freeelectronic. So in those terms Chameleon is perhaps most mellow, easy-to-listen and smooth-jazzy record of Stańko and yet it is very, very beautiful and rewarding. 
Stańko as Miles never failed and he can be compared to mythical king Midas who whatever he touched turned into gold. What is fascinating in this record is that despite being at moments very accessible yet it comprises some compositions that counterpoint this sweet and light mood with typical Stańko brooding and bluesy sound. So this music retains Stańko musical identity which we appreciate so much but at the same time, as he states in his recently issued autobiography, could be used during intimate date with his girfriends who would probably run away immediately if exposed to Stańko excellent free jazz recordings as Music For K, Twet or even Balladyna. Typical Stańko sense of humour ;-)))

Author: Maciej Nowotny

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