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Tomasz Stanko Quartet
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Lontano is the third album by 64-year-old Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko to team him with a trio of exceptionally talented young countrymen who started playing with him while still in their teens: pianist Marcin Wasilewski...  more »


CD Details

All Artists: Tomasz Stanko Quartet
Title: Lontano
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: ECM Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 8/29/2006
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
Style: Avant Garde & Free Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 602498773802, 0602498773802

Lontano is the third album by 64-year-old Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko to team him with a trio of exceptionally talented young countrymen who started playing with him while still in their teens: pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz. Yes, the trio, which has recorded on its own, pushes him with its fresh energy and ideas. But the support team is no less inspired by Stanko's spare, intensely understated approach to melody and harmony, which draws generously from Miles Davis, and his elastic sense of time. More dependent on spatial constructs and free form improvising than its richly atmospheric previous effort, Suspended Night (which some critics called Stanko's Kind of Blue), Lontano doesn't always deliver on the risks it takes. The music sometimes loses momentum. But the trumpeter's pensive lyrical authority and Wasilewski's controlled abandon make for a good combination, especially on a pair of Stanko tunes first recorded in 1965 and 1975, respectively. --Lloyd Sachs

CD Reviews

Superb. Get this CD.
Composer/Producer/DJ | USA | 09/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A lot has already been written about this quartet and their previous recording, Suspended Night. In the past few years I've been as interested in the compositional and arrangement elements of jazz as in the performance aspects. On this record, the band plays very freely, from what seem to be minimally sketched compositions, and yet the results are complex and deep.

Lontano is moody, shadowy, often slow and very spacious; some people might talk about a streak of melancholy running through it. They allow silence to play its role. This is heartbeakingly beautiful, sophisticated, intelligent, elegant and passionate music. When it swings, it really swings, and it's full of surprises.

Tomasz Stanko's trumpet has the world-weary sound of a mature jazz master, and his young trio is as inventive and interesting as anyone out there. Marcin Wasilewski has a unique voice on piano and I think we'll be hearing him for a long time.

I've never understood why "free" jazz playing so often gravitates toward the same disjointed, dissonant place. These guys are free players who discover a path to delicate beauty and subtle interplay while playing very spontaneously.

I've never written a review for a web site, and I may never do it again. But this music is very inspiring and I wanted to recommend it to anyone who ends up on this page. Order Suspended Night, too, while you're at it, and also the trio's album, simply called "Trio", also on ECM. These guys are creating music that's going to last."
The song remains the same
Chazz | Long Beach, CA USA | 09/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Imagine, if you can, being a young Polish schoolboy in the early 1970s, surrounded by daily radio fare of Chopin - Polkas - Soviet Army Marching Bands, and retreating into the world of Led Zeppelin, Yes and Pink Floyd.

Bored, but not even knowing it, you turn on the television to a cultural chronicle called "Pegaz," and hear the music of Tomasz Stanko for the first time. Thinking that your musical art-rock universe was rebellious and counter-cultural, this music is shocking in its weirdness and wildness; it hurts your ears, it repels, but you keep coming back.

Fast forwarding 30 years ahead.

You are sitting in a coffee shop in Los Angeles and talking to Tomasz Stanko about his most recent album - The Soul of Things. I would like to have my music to be enjoyed by all - says Stanko, finishing his 3rd (?) that day double espresso - The critic, the jazz fan, the girl on the street. I know that they will not necessary appreciate all nuances, but if they pass the 1st layer, they might be able to get to another, and then to another, and so on...

Fast forward again.

On August 29, 2006 the newest release from Tomasz Stanko Quartet Lontano will hit the stores in the United States, and will be followed by a 12-city, 20-date US tour in October this year. The new album was recorded at studios La Buisonne, in a French Provence, near Avignon, directly after an extensive tour of the Far East, which Stanko suggests may have been a factor influencing the departures on Lontano: Just the experience of being on the road, playing to very different audiences helps me to change, personally. I wasn't expecting record number three with this group to be as different as it is - but then it's almost a policy not to have expectations. As an improviser I want to be open to the whole atmosphere.

Lontano is a quintessential exemplification of ECM sound. You can't imagine a better example of this "wonderfully modern and impressionistic über-intellectual, spacey music made by a variety of races and nationalities with Scandinavian winter night, motionless as a Zen master meditating" sound (thank you Google). It is evident that Stanko's sound today is an archetypal to ECM's sound; or perhaps has ECM adopted Stanko's own sound for itself? Or maybe the song remains the same since the 1970's?

Only today those weird, radical noises became something else for you, something different and distinct, but without loosing its own voice, its unpredictability and its quintessential Slavic's moodiness. Despite the new titles of the tracks you are listening on Lontano, you hearing the same music you heard 30+ years ago: same wildness of the sound, some pain coming out from sub consciousness of the artist, and same hope.

Despite Stanko's personality displayed dominantly on this album, this is essentially a Quartet's work. Many complements were already given to extraordinary members of Stanko's quartet, but no words could describe the heavenly interaction between the musicians. Everywhere on the album the emphasis is on dialogue and interaction. It is evident that Stanko has gained new energy and momentum from his association with Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz. It is impossible to find the words to describe the mastery of Slawek Kurkiewicz's bass - you can hear anybody from Ron Carter to Dave Holland in his unique touch; you can't stop admiring the irreplaceable sound and complexity of Michal Miskiewicz's drums. And still, the piano of Marcin Wasilewski's is able to make the statement on his own. Stanko's himself admitted that he has never played with the musician like Wasilewski - the only one who could understand his music that well. The critics are usually misleaded by Wasilewski's roots in Keith Jarrett's language; perhaps you should be thinking about Beastie Boys' imaginary album featuring McCoy Tyner on piano...Listen up.

Lontano is also a perfect example how sensitive producer could influence the final result of studio's interaction among the artists. I like very much Manfred Eicher's way of working - says Stanko - where he is always helping to create a direction we can use. We are always open to his input. And I really enjoy the free feeling we found on Lontano and the communication between the players. It seems `new' and at the same time it has everything to do with my roots and where I started in jazz. Maybe it sounds paradoxical but I believe it is easier to play freely and with focus in the studio than in the live situation. Firstly because of the clarity of the acoustics; you are in a better position to have control over both your own sound and the ensemble sound...

There have been very few musicians who have maintained their own voice throughout their careers. Of course the name of Miles Davis shows up here first and not by coincidence - just listen to The Birth of the Cool and The Cellar Door Sessions one disk after another. Stanko has always acknowledged the big influence of Miles on his own art. Looking around it difficult to find anybody else - perhaps with the exception of Wayne Shorter - who has been so faithful to his language for such a long time. Of course the forms of expression have changed and the language is different today than it was 30 years ago, but the song remains the same.

We all should hope to listen to this song for many more decades to come.
Heady yet cool....oh so cool
James Lamperetta | Upstate, NY | 01/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"'Lontano' is the third album by the Tomasz Stanko Quartet for ECM. It is a masterpiece which continues the group's ascent into the rarefied, heady, truly sublime section of the jazz world reserved for only the finest ensembles.

Drenched in subtlety and nuance, listening to the group is akin to eavesdropping on a hushed dialogue among kindred spirits, where the natural ebb and flow of the conversation relies as much on that which is stated as is implied.

Comparisons with Miles Davis are inevitable and appropriate. As the reigning king of 'less is more,' Stanko, who is 64 and hails from Poland, has crafted the 'Kind of Blue' for the current generation.

Recorded immediately upon the completion of a tour of the Far East, the foursome's seemingly telepathic interactions are honed to razor-sharpness.

Musically, more than half of the disc is dedicated to the three parts of the title track which clock in at 13, 15 and 12 minutes, respectively.

Serving as a microcosm of the group's full range, the quartet swings on its own terms as segments of ethereal, lyrical beauty are followed by looser, more animated passages marked by a simmering intensity and culminating with a collective pause before the group returns to ruminations which are once again decidedly introspective.

Produced with sparkling clarity, yet imbued with an intimacy that brings the players squarely into your listening space, this is not only quintessential ECM but required listening for jazz fans of all stripes."