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Tomasz Stańko (11 July 1942 – 29 July 2018) was a Polish trumpeter and composer. Often recording for ECM Records, Stańko was strongly associated with free jazz and the avant-garde.

Coming to prominence in the early 1960s alongside pianist Adam Makowicz in the Jazz Darings, Stańko collaborated with pianist Krzysztof Komeda on Komeda's album Astigmatic, recorded in early 1965. In 1968 Stańko formed an acclaimed quintet that included Zbigniew Seifert on violin and alto saxophone, and in 1975 he formed the Tomasz Stańko-Adam Makowicz Unit.

Stańko established a reputation as a leading figure not only in Polish jazz, but on the world stage as well, working with many notable musicians, including Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Reggie Workman, Rufus Reid, Lester Bowie, David Murray, Manu Katché and Chico Freeman. In 1984 he was a member of Cecil Taylor's big band.

Tomasz Stańko was born in Rzeszów, Poland, on July 11, 1942. His first
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TOMASZ STAŃKO albums / top albums

TOMASZ STAŃKO Purple Sun album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Purple Sun
Fusion 1973
TOMASZ STAŃKO Tomasz Stańko & Adam Makowicz album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tomasz Stańko & Adam Makowicz
Post Bop 1975
TOMASZ STAŃKO Unit (with Adam Makowicz) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Unit (with Adam Makowicz)
Post Bop 1976
TOMASZ STAŃKO Balladyna album cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
Avant-Garde Jazz 1976
TOMASZ STAŃKO Almost Green album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Almost Green
Avant-Garde Jazz 1979
TOMASZ STAŃKO Music From Taj Mahal and Karla Caves album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Music From Taj Mahal and Karla Caves
Avant-Garde Jazz 1980
TOMASZ STAŃKO Lady Go album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lady Go
Fusion 1984
TOMASZ STAŃKO Music 81 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Music 81
Post Bop 1984
TOMASZ STAŃKO C.O.C.X. album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Fusion 1985
TOMASZ STAŃKO Peyotl (Freelectronic) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Peyotl (Freelectronic)
Fusion 1986
TOMASZ STAŃKO Stañko/ Kurylewicz : Korozje album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Stañko/ Kurylewicz : Korozje
Avant-Garde Jazz 1986
TOMASZ STAŃKO Chameleon album cover 2.17 | 3 ratings
Fusion 1989
TOMASZ STAŃKO Bluish album cover 4.33 | 3 ratings
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1991
TOMASZ STAŃKO Tales For A Girl, 12, And A Shaky Chica album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tales For A Girl, 12, And A Shaky Chica
Post Bop 1991
TOMASZ STAŃKO Caoma album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Post Bop 1993
TOMASZ STAŃKO Bosonossa and Other Ballads album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Bosonossa and Other Ballads
Avant-Garde Jazz 1993
TOMASZ STAŃKO Balladyna: Theater Play Compositions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Balladyna: Theater Play Compositions
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1994
TOMASZ STAŃKO A Farewell to Maria (OST) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Farewell to Maria (OST)
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1994
TOMASZ STAŃKO Matka Joanna album cover 4.17 | 3 ratings
Matka Joanna
Post Bop 1995
TOMASZ STAŃKO Roberto Zucco album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Roberto Zucco
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1995
TOMASZ STAŃKO Litania: Music of Krzysztof Komeda album cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
Litania: Music of Krzysztof Komeda
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1997
TOMASZ STAŃKO Leosia album cover 4.42 | 5 ratings
Post Bop 1997
TOMASZ STAŃKO From the Green Hill album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
From the Green Hill
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1998
TOMASZ STAŃKO Egzekutor album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2001
TOMASZ STAŃKO Soul Of Things album cover 4.75 | 5 ratings
Soul Of Things
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2002
TOMASZ STAŃKO Suspended Night album cover 4.05 | 9 ratings
Suspended Night
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2004
TOMASZ STAŃKO Too Pee album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Too Pee
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2005
TOMASZ STAŃKO Wolność W Sierpniu - Freedom In August album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Wolność W Sierpniu - Freedom In August
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2005
TOMASZ STAŃKO Lontano album cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2006
TOMASZ STAŃKO Tomasz Stańko Quintet : Dark Eyes album cover 4.46 | 4 ratings
Tomasz Stańko Quintet : Dark Eyes
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2009
TOMASZ STAŃKO Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet : Wisława album cover 4.50 | 4 ratings
Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet : Wisława
Post Bop 2013
TOMASZ STAŃKO Polin album cover 4.07 | 4 ratings
Post Bop 2014
TOMASZ STAŃKO December Avenue album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
December Avenue
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2017


TOMASZ STAŃKO live albums

TOMASZ STAŃKO Music for K (aka From Poland With Jazz) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Music for K (aka From Poland With Jazz)
Avant-Garde Jazz 1970
TOMASZ STAŃKO Jazzmessage From Poland album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazzmessage From Poland
Avant-Garde Jazz 1972
TOMASZ STAŃKO Twet album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Avant-Garde Jazz 1974
TOMASZ STAŃKO Tomasz Stanko - Edward Vesala Quartet ‎: Live At Remont album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tomasz Stanko - Edward Vesala Quartet ‎: Live At Remont
Avant-Garde Jazz 1978
TOMASZ STAŃKO W Pałacu Prymasowskim album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
W Pałacu Prymasowskim
Avant-Garde Jazz 1983
TOMASZ STAŃKO A i J album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A i J
Avant-Garde Jazz 1985
TOMASZ STAŃKO Freelectronic: The Montreux Performance (aka Switzerland) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Freelectronic: The Montreux Performance (aka Switzerland)
Fusion 1987
TOMASZ STAŃKO Tomasz Stanko, Manfred Bründl, Michael Riessler ‎: Suite Talk (aka Too Pee) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tomasz Stanko, Manfred Bründl, Michael Riessler ‎: Suite Talk (aka Too Pee)
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1993
TOMASZ STAŃKO Wisława Szymborska/Tomasz Stańko : Here album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Wisława Szymborska/Tomasz Stańko : Here
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2012

TOMASZ STAŃKO demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

TOMASZ STAŃKO Biały kruk czarnego krążka (aka Fish Face) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Biały kruk czarnego krążka (aka Fish Face)
Avant-Garde Jazz 1973

TOMASZ STAŃKO re-issues & compilations

TOMASZ STAŃKO Selected Recordings (:rarum – XVII) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Selected Recordings (:rarum – XVII)
Avant-Garde Jazz 2004
TOMASZ STAŃKO 1970-1975-1984-1986-1988 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Post Bop 2008
TOMASZ STAŃKO Freelectronic In Montreux + Too Pee album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Freelectronic In Montreux + Too Pee
Fusion 2018

TOMASZ STAŃKO singles (0)

TOMASZ STAŃKO movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


TOMASZ STAŃKO Tomasz Stańko Quintet : Dark Eyes

Album · 2009 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Steve Wyzard

Inevitably, this album will be compared to Stanko's three preceding albums for ECM, Soul of Things (2002), Suspended Night (2004), and Lontano (2006). The Polish quartet has been replaced with a Scandinavian quintet, and while the Stanko trumpet sound remains the same and there are some similar tonal textures, Dark Eyes is also something very different. Most significantly, the addition of electric guitar and electric bass produce a fuller, more modern, even urban soundscape. Where some will recognize a natural progression from the experimental Lontano, surely others will lament the loss of the classic quartet atmosphere. Dark Eyes is a shorter album (61:44) than the quartet albums, and with a variety of moods takes some time to come to grips with. This is definitely not an avant-garde side-street, but it's also not an accessible "start here" recording.

The album begins with the pace-setting, scratchy-toned "So Nice". It's unusual, after the three piano/bass/drums albums, to hear a guitar backing Stanko. Dark Eyes was my introduction to guitarist Jakob Bro, and he plays moodily and unobtrusively throughout. The thunderous drumming of Olavi Louhivuori and the rumbling bass of Anders Christensen are the highlights of "Terminal 7". Many of the songs begin hesitantly, such as "Amsterdam Avenue", "Samba Nova", and "Grand Central", which stops completely before resuming. Pianist Alexi Tuomarila takes his best solos on these three. The album closes with a call-back to 1976's Balladyna album, "Last Song", and the poignant "Etude Baletova No.3".

Special mention must be made of the following stand-outs: "The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch" is this album's instant classic, beginning as a dirge before Stanko launches into his wildest solo on the album. Over tolling piano chords and splashing cymbals, Stanko wails and Bro plays an airy solo on "Dirge for Europe". The ethereal "May Sun" does without Stanko entirely: a simple piece for guitar and piano, reminiscent of a Chick Corea "Children's Song".

While risks are taken, Dark Eyes is an overwhelmingly subdued album. The melancholy ECM sound is ever-present and will repay repeated listening. The first two quartet albums notwithstanding, this album sits very securely among the best of the now complete Stanko oeuvre. And lest any doubt be raised, the greatest trumpet with electric guitar albums remain Miles Davis's In a Silent Way (John McLaughlin), and Enrico Rava's The Plot (John Abercrombie).


Album · 1973 · Fusion
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Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is most probably country's best known jazz musician for some decades and prestigious ECM label in-house artist. Better known (especially outside of his homeland) from his ECM-sound recordings, in his early ears Stanko played quite different music. Started his career still at late 60s, Tomasz played with in Polish legend Komeda band, starting his career as leader in early 70s.

"Purple Sun" is Stanko quintet third album recorded live in empty hall of Music School in Munich,Germany. All-Polish quartet is completed with German bassist Hans Hartmann here. Album contains four originals (twolong and two shorter pieces). Confusingly enough, "Purple Sun" is often classified in music media (partially Polish) as early example of Polish avant-garde jazz which it isn't.

In reality bass-drums-trumpet-sax quartet with violinist Zbigniew Seifert on board plays high energy fusion strongly influenced by Davis' "Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew". Representing contrast difference from popular Stanko ECM albums of contemporary (chamber) jazz, "Purple Sun" with its raw energy and quite free structure possibly sounds as avant-garde piece for traditional Stanko listeners but everyone familiar with early Miles fusion will confirm their musical similarity.

Stanko's fusion is more European comparing with Miles - there are less American jazz roots (no groove) but lot of German krautrock influence in a form of straight power flow and rock-psychedelia. And yeh - the level of musicians virtuosity is far not as in Davis fusion bands.

Still music sounds really fresh and inspired and common "rockish" aesthetics could be attractive for fans of jazz-rock. In all cases, this album (reissued in Poland on CD at least twice so quite accessible) is not for numerous fans of ECM-period Stanko. Lovers of early Miles fusion will probably find here a nice example of similar music recorded by one of the best Polish jazz musician ever.

TOMASZ STAŃKO Suspended Night

Album · 2004 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Steve Wyzard

I wish there were some way words could convey not only what a huge surprise this album was when it was released, but also how it has almost single-handedly re-defined and re-invigorated jazz in the 21st century. ECM Records has raised the stakes by placing a sticker on the shrink-wrap with a quote from The Guardian: "If everyone who owned Kind of Blue heard Stanko's new album, it would top the charts tomorrow." The point of comparison, while understandable, is a bit of a stretcher: Kind of Blue has two saxophonists, five titled tracks, and runs almost 25 minutes shorter. Still, for everyone who appreciates what has been described as "2AM jazz" (moody, atmospheric, unhurried, haunted), Suspended Night absolutely MUST be heard to be believed.

Trumpeter Tomasz Stanko returned to the ECM label in the early 1990s and released a few experimental albums that didn't attract much attention. Everyone took notice in 2002 with the release of Soul of Things, where he introduced his new quartet (Marcin Wasilewski, piano, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, double bass, Michal Miskiewicz, drums/cymbals) on 13 lively, adventurous but unnamed tracks. Much deeper and broader in scope, Suspended Night not only fulfills the potential indicated by the previous album, but also escapes into entirely new and different directions. Only very rarely does 69:07 pass so quickly, and every note is magic. If Soul of Things can be described as "uptown", Suspended Night is simply "timeless".

There's no point in describing all 11 tracks or discussing individual solos, as all four players are at the top of their game. There is, however, one absolutely definitive composition that should instantly erase any pre-existing misconceptions (such as "it's morose/slow/gloomy"). "Suspended Variation II" opens on the bass, before adding piano, trumpet, and drums. The unforgettable melody line is almost playful (yes, it swings!) and excitement builds with each solo and return to the opening theme before a memorable, sudden ending. If the world's few remaining jazz radio/satellite stations would only play this track, it would do far more to build interest than comparisons to Miles Davis. And so it goes throughout: Stanko shares so much of the spotlight with his young trio that he's almost a guest on his own album. Listen to the percussive intro and false ending of "Suspended Variation III", or the uptempo "Suspended Variation VIII" to hear his most fiery playing on the album. The imaginative "Suspended Variation V" introduces tension with a wildly angular bass line, while "Suspended Variation VII" is wholly improvised. The closing "Suspended Variation X" is obviously the resolute "last call of the evening" number, with awe-inspiring cymbals playing over a slow fade to black.

Suspended Night is one of those albums that many people will discover simply via word-of-mouth long after its release, and then wonder "Why didn't I know about this before now?" All ECM recordings are exquisitely produced, engineered, and mastered, but this one is truly special, exemplary in a very crowded field. 2004 was a stellar year for recorded jazz, but Suspended Night is the ne plus ultra and is an almost shoo-in candidate for album of the decade. There is no shortage of jazz featuring great playing/writing/atmospheres, but the Tomasz Stanko Quartet has now perfectly married all three together. This is one for the ages: no comparisons necessary!


Album · 2002 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Steve Wyzard

Technically speaking, the trumpet quartet never really went away, but with 2002's Soul of Things, Tomasz Stanko revitalized the medium and brought it to the front and center of public discussion. The first of three albums with this line-up (Stanko, trumpet, Marcin Wasilewski, piano, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, bass, Michal Miskiewisz, drums), Soul of Things is very "uptown": calm / sparse / measured / intimate. The liner notes inform us that this group has played together for a few years, and all the players do conduct themselves admirably. Yet there is also a slight "first album" self-consciousness and hesitancy to the proceedings. Which is NOT to say I don't like it. There's a reserved, understated beauty to Soul of Things that's not available anywhere else, even in the Stanko catalog.

There are no "songs": the 13 tracks are roman-numeralled "variations", but with very little (if any actual) cross-referencing between them. Most can be described as meditative, wistful, wayfaring, unhurried, deliberate. Beautiful variation II brings to mind snow-flurries sparkling in a street lamp's glow. The tempi are increased for the bright and bubbly III and X, while IV and XI are impassioned and anthemic, soundtrack material for an unmade film. VII is seemingly improvised, and XIII opens with a moving Stanko solo, before closing the album with a crystalline, transfigured coda.

Soul of Things never drags, but at 74:57, it does run a shade long. Were one given access to the entire sessions, deciding what to edit out couldn't have been easy. Stanko does add his grainy dissonances throughout the performances, and drummer Miskiewicz shines above his peers, receiving the most solo space (especially on VIII). This album's "buzz" was definitely justified, and those looking for the typical ECM melancholy are directed elsewhere. Soul of Things is essential and irreplaceable.


Album · 2014 · Post Bop
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I spent bigger part of my life in regions influenced by Slavic culture(all - Eastern,Western and Southern Slavs)and as result together with deep understanding what it is learned one thing - how much I hate that over-exalting "Slavic spirituality". That sweet-and-sour dreamy sadness with no reason,painful melancholy,anxiety,continuing awaiting of something what probably happens (combined with intuitive knowledge that nothing really happens ever)... Some strangers even see it attractive but it only means they never lived aside of that twilight zone of irrationality, fatalism and sensual mysticism.Just get me right - I mean exactly overdosed spiritual sensuality which is far different from Slavic culture in whole.

Trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is with no doubt leading Polish jazz musician and probably one of the best European jazz trumpeter. His international fame came mostly after ECM contracted him, soon he became label's trade mark and leading voice (personally I really like his early adventurous albums coming from early 70s; they are mostly released domestically in Poland and are almost unknown abroad). Success of his music comes from his great, quite free Miles Davis post-bop period influenced techniques combined with strong European chamber tradition and above mentioned "Slavic soul". On his best albums Tomasz finds only his own unique proportions between all three components making music close to masterpiece. On not so successful recordings he loses that balance and magic almost disappears.

Being a real fan of Stanko's early albums,I'm quite critical towards many his ECM releases - all of them are technically perfect, but far not every is real musical joy.Some Stanko most current releases were all quite disappointment (knowing how great music he can play), probably with "Wislawa" being a real disaster. Stanko reclocated to New York from native Poland and formed his New York quartet with really great local artists (incl, pianist David Virelles and drummer Gerald Cleaver, plus ECM bassist Thomas Morgan). New collective debut work (released on ECM in 2013) is dedicated to late Polish poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska. Working with lyrical,soulful and very Slavic material Tomasz recorded studio double-CD album with American band who simply didn't find right place in all that sensitive balladry.

Next on line Stanko album came on the last days of 2014 and was full of surprises. First of all, it was released by Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews (being their first ever musical release). It's not a first Stanko work of such kind - one of his albums ("Wolność w sierpniu")has been already released in co-operation with Warsaw Uprising Museum some years ago. Than,being recorded in New York,in Sear Sound Studio, it is free from ECM high but very predictable sound standard.And at the end - Stanko seriously reformed his American quartet for this recording: only Cuban pianist David Virelles stays from his classic New York Quartet, new rhythm section contains Dezron Douglas on bass and drummer Kush Abadey, plus all team is improved with sax man Ravi Coltrane (alternatively,all quintet could be seen as Tomasz Stanko plus new Ravi Coltrane quartet with different drummer - quartet's original drummer is Johnathan Blake)

So, I listen this new album again and again and the main bad thing here is how short it is!Less than 38-minutes long - that's quite a common size for old vinyl but in digital age we are often expecting at not less than twice more. And the music - it's excellent! For the first time ever Stanko plays real groovy jazz with all-American band! Sound is full,warm and tasteful(and here one can ensure how different some ECM artists sound when their music is recorded without that drug-store sterility in sound). Stanko demonstrates excellent collection of catchy tunes - rare event in modern jazz, and surprisingly enough he plays here one of his most straight music for years. If on European releases his freer digressions were all blood of his music, here he somehow founded a right decision - he plays tuneful,groovy post-bop without useless embellishment and it works perfectly.

Since all album is dedicated to holocaust theme ("Polin" means "Poland" in Hebrew) it contains some ballad-like elements and chamber moments,but in all it's a small magic how Tomasz(generally known by his sensitive tunes and melancholic compositions)avoids sentimental melancholy or even dramatic notes here. Muscular and lively,this music sounds more like a hymn to life.

The only sad news is it's announced that album will be distributed by Museum direct sales only so I afraid such a great work will stay unnoticed by many listeners. If by any chance you'll find "Polin" - don't have any doubts,it's Stanko at his very best.

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