Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tomasz Stanko – Peyotl - Witkacy (Polonia Records, 1996)

Tomasz Stanko - trumpet

Janusz Skowron - synthesizer Yamaha DX7
Antymos Apostolis - guitars, drums and percussion
Vitold Rek - electric and acoustic bass
Zbigniew Brysiak - percussion
Tadeusz Sudnik - synthi...aks
Andrzej "Major" Przybielski - trumpet
Marek Walczewski - voice 

Peyotl - Witkacy (Polonia Records, 1996)

(Editor) This is re-issue of album originally released in 1987 by Poljazz.

This is probably the most significant recording by Polish trumpeter virtuoso / composer Tomasz Stanko, surely at least among his Polish recordings before his later ECM period. Following Mile Davis, Stanko switched to Jazz-Rock Fusion (albeit a decade later) and his 1980s output with his Freelectronic ensemble is radically different from the Free Jazz he played in the 1970s. 

This double album consists of one studio recording and one live recording, both expressing Stanko's power as a performer and a composer to the max. The studio album, which was compiled over a period of two years, presents music composed by Stanko at the period when he was experimenting with hallucinogens and was deeply influenced by the writings of the Polish mystic / philosopher / avant-garde artist Witkacy (Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz), who was also an early experimenter with drugs. Text excerpts from Witkacy's book about drugs are recited and closely incorporated into the fascinating music, which floats over a repetitious hypnotic vamp and layers of electronic keyboard sounds. The highlight of this album is undoubtedly the inclusion of a second genius trumpet player, Andrzej Przybielski, who exchanges licks with Stanko in a brilliant manner. The fact that Stanko invited Przybielski to participate in this recording is a testimony of how highly he regarded his unbelievable talent. Other musicians participating in these recordings are: keyboardists Janusz Skowron and Tadeusz Sudnik, guitarist Apostolis Anthimos, bassist Witold Szczurek, and drummer Zbigniew Barysiak. The recitation is by the great actor Marek Walczewski. 

In retrospect the fact that this music was recorded almost 30 years ago seem incomprehensible, as it so much more advanced that almost any music done these days. Stanko's genius definitely reaches here one of its great peaks, which luckily for us was captured for posterity. Sadly this album is probably little known by his worldwide fan base, as it is very difficult to find, which of course is a shame. If one must own just one Stanko album, this is it, at least as far as I'm concerned. Absolute unadulterated genius!

Author: Adam Baruch

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