Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet

Jazz Sides

Phases & Stages

Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet

Wisawa (ECM)

Were you to recognize the name commemorating Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's Wislawa, you'd know exactly what it sounds like: quiet, stilling, yet bristling with playful curiosity and biting observation. Immediate as a paper cut, but twice as funny. A voice tickling your temporal lobe. Thus whispers and sings the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska (pronounced "vi sawva sim borska"), who won the 1966 Nobel Prize in literature and died last year. Though only the briefest introduction stamps the double-disc's notes ("Meeting her and interacting with her poetry also gave impetus to this music"), the veteran horn-blower, 71 this month, split his time between Warsaw and NYC obviously relishing the words of the tiny Kraków laureate who roared. Steel brushes, piano, acoustic double bass, and lips pressed to a metal mouthpiece pushing air match Szymborska's delicious hush on another Stanko keepsake for avant-classical jazz indie ECM, a union fast approaching four decades. His beautiful blue notes ("Assassins") and lush, airy, long-form balladry sync with her simplicity and inevitability in "Metafizyka," whose words – again, not reprinted in Wislawa – titter with the author's flirtatious gravity: "It's been and gone. It's been, so it's gone. In the same irreversible order, for such is the rule of this foregone game." From the opening title track, a piano stroll smeared with silver streaks of horn – contemplative, romantic – and the winsome centerpiece "Tutaj – Here" (titled for Szymborska's last collection in 2009), to the exploratory plucking of "Oni" and classic, main-stem bop and free interior of "April Story," a pair of Poles prove their homeland's diaspora bears a creative component still largely unexplored by the West.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Tomasz Stanko
ECM Touchstones
The Pilgrim and the Stars, Balladyna, Extensions, Rypdal / Miroslav Vitous / Jack DeJohnette, Dreams So Real, Lookout for Hope, Rambler, Duas Vozes, Conte de L'Incroyable Amour, Kultrum, Somewhere Called Home, The Great Pretender (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Dec. 19, 2008

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Big Wy’s Brass Band
Portal to Funkville (Record Review)

Michael Toland, May 25, 2018

Texas Platters
Chris Cogburn/Ingebrigt Håker Flaten/Bob Hoffnar/Henry Kaiser
En las Montañas de Excesos (Record Review)

Michael Toland, May 11, 2018

More by Raoul Hernandez
Steve Van Zandt’s Soulfire
Steve Van Zandt’s Soulfire
Springsteen henchman and Sopranos boss hits the road and classrooms

May 24, 2018

Texas Platters
Charley Crockett
Lonesome as a Shadow (Record Review)

May 11, 2018


Tomasz Stanko

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle