Friday, August 31, 2012

Tomasz Stanko Quintet - Jazz Message From Poland (1972)

Tomasz Stanko Quintet

Tomasz Stanko - trumpet
Zbigniew Seifert - violin
Janusz Muniak - Flute, tenor & perc.
Bronislaw Suchanek - double bass
Janusz Stefanski - drums, perc.

Jazz Message From Poland (1972)

Krzysztof Komeda's unexpected death left Polish jazz in a state-of-shock. Tomasz Stańko in his autobiography "Desperado" confessed that he was perfectly happy as trumpeter in Komeda group and were it not for his untimely departure he would never go for his own band. Eventualy he was kind of forced to make that step and it revealed to be a very important event in history of Polish jazz. Stańko musical tastes were different than Komeda's and he directed his new project more into free jazz territory. Since in those times free jazz was phenomenon  almost exclusively limited to the US, Stańko and his band were among forerunners of this aesthetics in Europe. What was important Stańko never actually imitated the American paterns but rather took them as point-of-departure for his own explorations.

It was also one of first times when Stańko showed himself as a very capable leader. He carefully hand-picked most able musicians on Polish scene and thus created a true super-group. Some of his collaborators in this band like for example Zbigniew Seifert made thereafter great career internationally (check his "Man Of Light") or like Janusz Muniak in Poland (check "Question Mark"). Rhythm section players that is a bassist Bronisław Suchanek and drummer Janusz Stefański are no less prominent appearing on countless recordings during this golden era of Polish Jazz (60ties and 70ties last century).

This quintet recorded together three albums, starting with a revolutionary "Music For K" (1970) which had a lot in common with Ornettian, chaotic and loud version of free jazz with following "Jazz Message In Poland" (1972) and "Purple Sun" (1973). Second and third album of this group showed even more clearly that Stańko is interested more in conceptual version of free jazz than its version dominating then in the US thanks to above mentioned Ornette Coleman or others like Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor or Don Cherry. These three albums by Stańko first quintet were great by themselves but they also made a way for even bigger ones to follow like "TWET" (1974) or "Balladyna" (1976), Stańko's first for ECM.

Going back to "Jazz Message From Poland" when compared to "Music For K" it gained ecstatic character resembling a bit the projects by Miles Davis , especially music from legendary "Bitches Brew" sessions (1970). But dialogues between Tomasz Stańko trumpet and Zbigniew Stańko violin are so unique that this records withstands comparison with any record of that era in the world and brings to modern listener fully satisfactory experience regardless 40 years that has passed since its release. 

By Maciej Nowotny

Track listing:
1. Aeoioe (Muniak/Stańko) / Heban (Seifert)
2. Piece For Diana

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