Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tomasz Stanko – C.O.C.X. (1983)

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet

Antymos Apostolis - guitar, guitars drums, bass and percussion
Vitold Rek - bass, gong
Jose Antonio Torres - conga, percussion

This great album by Polish trumpeter / composer Tomasz Stanko marks his entry into the second period of his career, which is an almost complete about face in comparison to his earlier work, which was mostly associated with Free Jazz. During the next decade (1980s) Stanko will record primarily with young musicians, often associated with Rock rather than with Jazz, creating a unique (as always) brand of Jazz-Rock Fusion. This album, recorded in a quartet setting with guitarist Apostolis Anthimos (of SBB fame), bassist Witold Szczurek and percussionist Jose Torres, presents a series of beautiful melodies, which are performed in a pretty straight-forward manner, with Stanko and Anthimos exchanging licks and improvising on top of a steady rhythm section work. Hardcore Free Jazz / avant-garde enthusiasts might find this music "strange" and simplistic, but honestly it is far from being trivial at any point. It is simply different, and Stanko, as an artist, should be without doubt allowed some slack to move forward and change direction, same as Miles Davis and others did. His trumpet playing is a s virtuosic as always, and nothing beats Stanko playing a ballad – absolutely nothing! At the time of its release the album was received coldly and reluctantly by most of the local critics, who used the weathered "going commercial" arguments, without truly understanding the nature of the change. In retrospect this album is a valuable addition to Stanko's musical heritage, which has very few competitors. Brilliant stuff!

Author: Adam Baruch
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