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Suspended Night


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Performer Notes
  • Tomasz Stanko Quartet: Tomasz Stanko (trumpet); Marcin Wasilewski (piano); Slawomir Kurkiewicz (double bass); Michal Miskiewicz (drums).
  • Tomasz Stanko/Tomasz Stanko Quartet: Tomasz Stanko; Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Michal Miskiewicz.
  • Personnel: Tomasz Stanko (trumpet); Marcin Wasilewski (piano); Slawomir Kurkiewicz (double bass); Michal Miskiewicz (drums).
  • Recording information: Rainbow Studio, Oslo, Norway (07/2003).
  • Photographer: Andrzej Tyszko.
  • When Tomasz Stanko first started working with a trio of Polish teenagers in 1994 -- Marcin Wasilewski, piano; Slawomir Kurkiewicz, bass; Michal Miskiewicz, drums -- on film projects and live gigs inside his native land, he might have glimpsed, but surely never fully conceived of, the sound that the quartet's relationship would offer a decade later. Suspended Night, on ECM, follows the hugely successful Soul of Things on the same label. It is only the second international offering from this group, but the flowering and maturation of this creative relationship are nothing if not utterly stunning. This ensemble has developed its own bravely compelling yet tonally accessible voice in articulating Stanko's unique compositional language; it is one that opens up the jazz tradition from the inside in startling and wonderful new directions. Suspended Night opens with "Song for Sarah," a ballad that stresses the harmonic language utilized so wonderfully on Soul of Things. Wasilewski's intensely lyrical, Bill Evans-influenced style is the perfect complement to the languid tempo and moving melody of Stanko's balladic utterance. Stanko's playing of the melody moves directly in concert with his pianist's chromatic subtleties, with unhurried, emotional nuance as the rhythm section punctuates his lines with shimmering, dancing colorations and whispers. The rest of the disc is made up of ten "Suspended Variations." They are compositions that offer enough skeletal direction and structure to allow a spacious inner freedom; improvisation feels effortless, innovative in terms of dynamic, tone, and harmonic invention as an exploration of tonal color is combined with space and melodic inquiry that is holistic and open-ended. The dynamic range here is also compelling as it seems to flow and extend rather than explode for the sake of releasing tensions. Where Soul of Things concentrated on intimate dialogue, Suspended Night uses that exchange and extends both subtleties and vagaries while keeping the major tenets of its subject in full view, always with grace and a poetic elegance. This a major new lyric statement that actually looks at jazz as a future music of unfolding investigation rather than as merely a historic tradition celebrating itself. Suspended Night is essential for any serious jazz fan and a wonderful introduction to Stanko's music as well. ~ Thom Jurek
Professional Reviews
Down Beat (p.75) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[Stanko] chooses his notes wisely atop this rhythm section's often fluctuating, yet lightly sweeping execution."

JazzTimes (p.129) - "[F]ull of lovely moments..."
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