The Merkin Concert Hall performance is set for Monday, November 4 at 8 PM. Reserved tickets are priced at $22 and are available through the box office at 212-501-3330. Merkin Concert Hall is located at 129 W. 67th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam). Visit www.ekcc.org for concert information.
Part of the freshness and individuality of the quartet derives from their deep knowledge of Stanko’s history. It would be difficult to overestimate his standing in the Polish jazz community. The 60-year-old Stanko has been its central figure, firmly ensconced behind the Œiron curtain since the early 60s, and was again voted "Musician of the Decade" by the critics of Jazz Forum magazine in 2000. His young accompanists have studied his progress closely, know the whole story, from his innovations with the Jazz Darings (often claimed to be the first ‘free’ jazz group in Europe) in ‘62, the years with the celebrated film composer Krzysztof Komeda, the quintet with Zbigniew Seifert, the collaborations with Edward Vesala, the film and theatre music and, of course, the ECM albums that began in 1974.
Soul of Things is essential Stanko, the Polish trumpeter playing from the soul, with that dark, intense tone that is so immediately identifiable. The album is a balladesque suite, brimming over with Slavic lyricism, and simply titled Soul of Things, Parts I-13. The music makes allusion, in passing, to themes Stanko has contributed to Polish film, and other pieces of his, including the classic "Maldoror’s War Song" are also quoted, but as Stanko says, tongue only partly in cheek, "I’ve been playing the same song my whole life." Titles, in other words, are after the fact; what matters is the emotional depth, and this has been a constant through the different phases and forms that Stanko’s music has taken over the years.
Since resuming his association with ECM with Matka Joanna in 1994 (his first album as a leader for the label in 20 years), Tomasz Stanko has reached a new audience with his work. Two recordings with his international quartet with Bobo Stenson, Anders Jormin, and Tony Oxley, were followed by a highly successful tribute to Komeda, the film music composer and mentor who scored for the groundbreaking directors of the new Polish cinema; Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Skolimowski, Miroslaw Kijowicz, Janusz Morganstern and, most famously, Roman Polanski
Stanko’s Litania project became a popular fixture on the international festival circuit. In 1998, producer Manfred Eicher assembled a trans-idiomatic band around the trumpeter for From The Green Hill, a recording which pooled the talents of Dino Saluzzi, John Surman, Michelle Makarski, Anders Jormin and Jon Christensen. The Green Hill album won the coveted German Critics Prize (Deutscher Schallplattenpreis) as Album of the Year in 2000.
There is a "timeless" feel to Soul of Things that relates to Stanko’s roots as a player; this forward-looking trumpet player is also looking back here. His all-inclusive music on this occasion seems to connect with early influences. While sounding unmistakably like himself he also triggers memories of his first heroes, memories of Miles, memories of Chet Baker, in his lonesome, soulful soliloquies.
And how to account for the strength of Tomasz Stanko’s tone today? "Hard work," he says simply. "Y’know, I have plenty of time, since I gave up the ‘jazzman's lifestyle’. (laughs) I get up very early in the morning now, do some yoga exercises and then start to play. I play for hours every day. You can’t really call it practice, it’s become more like a kind of meditation..."
What the critics are saying about Tomasz Stanko:
"New Old World Music that is both intriguingly fresh and hauntingly familiar." ―Bradley Bambarger, Billboard
"The results are highly affected, with a cinematic sweep and diverse, folk-inflected influences." ―Steve Futterman, New Yorker Magazine
"Tomasz Stanko is the most important unknown trumpet player in jazz." "A Stanko album plays like a soundtrack to a film in his mind, and sounds like nothing else..." ―Thomas Conrad, Down Beat
"Stanko’s own playing is as unassuming as ever, his tone often fragile, his melodies almost apologetic in their simple splendor." ―Martin Wisckol, The Orange Country Register
"Tomasz Stanko must be considered one of the most important‹and under-heard-voices today." ―Jeff Morris, www.52ndstreet.com
On tour with Tomasz Stanko:
November 2 Philadelphia PA tba
November 3 Washington D.C. Blues Alley
November 4 New York City Merkin Concert Hall
November 6 La Jolla CA Athenaeum
November 7 Seattle, WA Ear Shot Jazz
November 8 Los Angeles CA tba
November 9 San Francisco CA SFJazz Festival
November 11 Santa Cruz CA Kuumbwa Jazz
About Merkin Concert Hall Renowned for its acoustics, accessibility and innovative programming, Merkin Concert Hall is the recipient of multiple awards for Adventurous Programming, most recently from ASCAP/Chamber Music America in January 2002.
The Hall is a division of the Kaufman Center, which also includes the Lucy Moses School (a community arts school) and the Special Music School (a New York City public school for musically-gifted children). A not-for-profit organization founded in 1952, the Kaufman Center which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this season occupies its own facility, the award-winning Goodman House, located in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Through its three divisions, the Center is an unsurpassed cultural resource where people of all ages experience the joy of artistic creation, expression and appreciation.