Thursday, March 26, 2020

Kuba Stankiewicz – Inspired By Roman Statkowski (2019)

Kuba Stankiewicz

Kuba Stankiewicz - piano
Daniel Rotem - tenor & soprano saxophones
Darek Oleszkiewicz - double bass
Tina Raymond - drums

Inspired By Roman Statkowski


By Adam Baruch

This is an album by Polish Jazz pianist/composer Kuba Stankiewicz, recorded in a classic quartet setting with Israeli saxophonist Daniel Rotem, Polish (resident in US) bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and American drummer Tina Raymond. The album presents seven tracks, which are arrangements of music by the Polish Classical composer Roman Statkowski, based on the motives from his opera "Maria".

This album is a logical follow up to the three albums by Stankiewicz, recorded and released between 2014 and 2017, which were dedicated do commemorate the three great Polish/Jewish composers, who achieved fame and glory in the US and together created a huge part of the repertoire, which is now considered as "Jazz standards": Victor Young, Bronisław Kaper and Henryk Wars. I had the immense pleasure to belong to the "inner circle" of people behind creating this spectacular tribute, by writing the liner notes to the "The Music Of Victor Young" (the first of the three albums) and consistently presenting the music as part of the Singer Jazz Festival, of which I am the Music Director. Last year (2019) I also had the pleasure to present the music on this album as well.

During his background research on Young, Kaper and Wars, which was done with incredible seriousness, dedication and commitment, Stankiewicz discovered that both Young and Wars studied composition with Statkowski at the Warsaw Music Academy, which led him to discover the music of Statkowski, who sadly was almost completely forgotten in time. Not surprisingly the decision to pay tribute to that fabulous music was born and resulted in recording of this album.

Polish Jazz fans familiar with the achievements of Stankiewicz know exactly what to expect form this album, as his proven record can be equaled by only very few of his contemporaries. The music is full of elegance, grace and above all deep sensitivity, which proves that the transformation of Classical music into the Jazz idiom can be done without compromising any of its components. Stankiewicz touches the piano keys as if making love with the instrument and his inner aesthetic is simply astounding. As expected, the rest of the quartet members are all first rate players, who prove to be ideal partners in creating this wonderful piece of music.

Piano Jazz lovers, serious music connoisseurs and Stankiewicz fans will love this music to bits and many probably already bought this album (despite the unattractive cover art). Ideal listening in times the world is being quarantined, since music knows no limitations!

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