Other Places: Stanko in Sydney


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The veteran Polish Trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's late-blooming fame puts him in demand around the world. His reflective musings often inspire reviewers to compare him to Miles Davis. Davis was an inspiration, but Stanko long since absorbed, internalized and personalized the influence. Tonight he is playing in Australia at the Sydney Festival with his band of young Scandinavians. In the Sydney Morning Herald, John Shand traced Stanko's career, including his importance to the film composer Krsystof Komeda.
Komeda was the composer/pianist who penned scores for several Polanski films, including Rosemary's Baby. Stanko stayed for six years, absorbing the potential for a distinctly European jazz. ”Komeda started to write very modern compositions,” recalls Stanko, ”and he needed a free [improvising] player. I was maybe the only free player in Poland at this time.”

He was the vinegar in Komeda's melodic dressings; it was only when Komeda died in 1969 that Stanko devoted himself to his own music. Often the stimulus came from poetry, painting or film. ”I was always into art. My first guru was Van Gogh, and then Modigliani, now I am really a fan of any kind of visual art.”

With his current quintet—which has two Finns (pianist Alexi Tuomarila and drummer Olavi Louhivuori) and two Danes (guitarist Jakob Bro and bassist Anders Christensen)—he recorded The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch, inspired by an Oskar Kokoschka portrait in New York's Neue Galerie. The gallery is a 15-minute walk from Stanko's apartment, and he often goes there for stimulus.

To read the whole piece, go here.

That quintet toured Poland in 2009. Here they play a Stanko composition called “So Nice," which you are unlikely to confuse with the Brazilian pop tune of the same title.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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