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Saturday, February 23, 2013

CD Review: Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet - Wislawa

Tomasz Stanko – Trumpet; David Virelles- Piano; Thomas Morgan -  Bass; Gerald Cleaver – Drums.
(Review by Steve Horowitz)
70 year old Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko leads his New York Quartet in an album dedicated to the late Nobel Laureate and fellow compatriot Wislawa Szymborska who’s poetry inspired Stanko and indeed provides some of the song titles on this album
The double CD begins with Wislawa, a slow moving, melancholy, piece that leads gently into Assasins  - a modern up tempo number with the rhythm section really cranking it up. Metafizyka  starts slowly but soon livens  and contains an eloquent bass solo from Morgan before gently winding down. Dernier Cri sees Stanko in a Milesian mode prior to a rousing interlude from the rhythm section before ending with graceful piano and drums from Virelles and Cleaver respectively. Mikrokosmos is a trumpet tour de force with all sorts of exciting squeals and reels going on before settling down with further great work from the rest of the quartet.  A gentle  ballad, Song for H, concludes the first CD.
CD 2 begins with Oni, an uplifting piece that once more demonstrates Stanko’s virtuosity. April Story is another peaceful ballad with more Davisesque horn. Tutaj – Here is a   more energetic number with drums the driving force. Faces, a post bop rasper, precedes the magnificently named track A Shaggy Vandal (not, I'm assured, dedicated to Boris Johnson!) The album concludes as it started with another version of the title track  Wislawa  brooding , moody and  peaceful.
A quiet slow burner comprising mainly of ballads with the odd driving number but all played subtlety and sensitively  by the ‘old master’ and his bright ‘new’  New York band. Wislawa also has the added bonus of introducing listeners to the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska. 
Recommended.
Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet - Wislawa, is available on the ECM label.
Steve H.

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