Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet: Wisława

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Tomasz Stanko, now 70, has recorded with some first-rate bands, including his early ’90s unit with pianist Bobo Stenson, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Tony Oxley. But the eminent Polish trumpeter has never had a rhythm section that could give his music the lift, flexibility and soulful grounding he gets from pianist David Virelles, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Gerald Cleaver in his New York Quartet. Of course, he’s never required their brand of support before, having for much of his career devoted himself to moody, slow-moving, thickly atmospheric pieces.

What makes Wisława (pronounced vees-WAH-vah) striking is Stanko’s ability to push into a more assertive, wide-awake style, rhythmically as well as melodically, without sacrificing the dark-glowing, middle-of-the-night emotion for which he’s known. You need only listen to “Assassins,” with its freewheeling strokes and brisk, bursting bop melody, or Morgan’s steadily intensifying bass solo over Cleaver’s skittering strokes on the time-shifting “Dernier Cri,” to know how well Stanko has adjusted to life in the jazz capital of the world. (As a ballad specialist, he has always been under the sway of Miles Davis.)

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published