Tomasz Stanko Quartet

Featured Artists Recorded

November 2005, Studios La Buissonne, Pernes les Fontaines

Original Release Date


  • 1Lontano I
    (Marcin Wasilewski, Michal Miskiewicz, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Tomasz Stanko)
  • 2Cyrhla
    (Tomasz Stanko)
  • 3Song for Ania
    (Tomasz Stanko)
  • 4Kattorna
    (Krzysztof Komeda)
  • 5Lontano II
    (Marcin Wasilewski, Michal Miskiewicz, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Tomasz Stanko)
  • 6Sweet Thing
    (Tomasz Stanko)
  • 7Trista
    (Tomasz Stanko)
  • 8Lontano III
    (Marcin Wasilewski, Michal Miskiewicz, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Tomasz Stanko)
  • 9Tale
    (Tomasz Stanko)
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Bestenliste 4/2006
Stereoplay, Jazz-CD des Monats
Lontano is full of the paradoxes embodied by all great music: of silence being given voice; of time simultaneously expanded, condensed, and brought to a full stop; and of the pains and joys of souls far away re-created in the listener’s heart. As was true of Soul of Things and Suspended Night, his first two records with this almost telepathic trio, it is the best thing Tomasz Stanko has done.
Richard Lehnert, Stereophile
A European free-jazz pioneer who played in Komeda’s groundbreaking quintet and Alex von Schlippenbach’s Globe Unity Orchestra, the 64-year-old Stanko nonetheless remains faithful to melody, albeit fractured, and internal harmonic structure. He builds tension in his music by abstractly aligning those elements at often exquisitely unhurried but not exactly relaxed tempos and in vast, yet somehow intimate spaces, and also by injecting the occasional mercurial run after long-held-notes and legato phrases. Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz, and Miskiewicz, who have recorded together as Trio, are as in-synch with Stanko as Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams were with Miles Davis, whose bittersweet expressiveness Stanko neatly matches.
Derk Richardson, The Absolute Sound
Das Quartett des Polen Tomasz Stanko schreibt eine einmalige Erfolgsgeschichte. Vor zwölf Jahren kamen blutjung Pianist Wasilewski, Bassist Kurkiewicz und Drummer Miskiewicz zu dem 64-jährigen Trompeter mit dem hintergründigen, an Miles Davis erinnernden Ton. Die Verständigung untereinander gleicht purer Magie. Lontano eröffnet ein neues überragendes Kapitel. Stankos lyrisch ruhige Musik erzielt eine ungeheuer suggestive Wirkung, das Quartett kultiviert mit harmonischer Sophistication die Kunst des Weglassens, der Leader zelebriert die dunkel lodernden Trompetentöne als Meisterwerke der Reduktion.
Thomas Fitterling, Stereoplay
Vieles ist zu feiern an Tomasz Stankos neuer CD. Vor allem, dass der große polnische Muezzin und Individualist, der in gut vier Jahrzehnten seinen Trompetenton zum eindringlichen Unikat individualisiert hat, seit reichlich zehn Jahren unter der exzellenten Betreuung durch Manfred Eicher und ECM nicht nur wieder kontinuierlich veröffentlicht, sondern dass er dies seit knapp fünf Jahren in seinem festen Quartett tut, das besser und besser wird. Insofern wird dieser durchgehende Höhepunkt Lontano wohl wie stets bei Stanko ein vorläufiger sein. ... Drei Polen, die allesamt seine Söhne sein könnten, liefern auf diesen neun Preziosen nicht nur ein fein ziseliertes Gespinst für ihren Bandleader. Mehr und mehr emanzipieren sie sich in eigenen Beiträgen, die dieser wunderbaren Musik eine weitere Dimension geben, ohne je ihre Koordinaten sprengen zu wollen. Diese Platte ist ein Ereignis.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Jazzpodium
Lontano ist die dritte CD, die Stanko mit der jungen Rhythmusgruppe Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkieweicz und Michal Miskiewicz aufgenommen hat. Sie ist noch dichter, konzentrierter, in gewisser Hinsicht auch radikaler free als die früheren Soul of Things und Suspended Night. ... Inzwischen sind die vier eine so integrierte Gruppe, dass einem weltweiten Publikum der Mund vor Staunen offen steht. Besonders den Namen Wasilewski müssen endlich auch Westeuropäer buchstabieren lernen: Diese subtilste pianistische Filigrankultur, sehr zurückhaltend, aber in kleinen, jähen Akkordeinwürfen so bestimmt, dass sie Stankos dunkle Himmel mit einem Schlag aufreißen, geht weit über das hinaus, was in der Bill-Evans-Nachfolge landauf, landab inzwischen auch vorhersehbar und also etwas langweilig geworden ist.
Peter Rüedi, Weltwoche
Lontano is the third ECM CD from Tomasz Stanko´s polish quartet since 2002. Two older Stanko compositions, new material and free improvised outbursts and long streams of melody succeed each other, often in fascinating dialogues between especially Stanko´s lyrical-glowing trumpet statements and pianist Marcin Wasilewskis wide open piano comments. The sound is strictly "European", some times statically beautiful on the border to collapse, other times so intensely communicative and charged that the speakers almost burns.
Dagbladet, Terje Mosnes (Norway)
The third ECM album by Tomasz Stanko’s popular all-Polish group rings some changes. Where its predecessors, 2001’s “Soul of Things” and 2004’s “Suspended Night” were recorded in Oslo, “Lontano” shifts the recording locale to the South of France – Studios La Buissonne, near Avignon – and it opens up the group’s concept to admit both freer playing and a new look at pieces of historical importance in Stanko’s development, while also emphasising the achingly soulful balladry that has increasingly become a hallmark of Stanko’s music...

The group arrived in the studio directly from an extensive tour of the Far East – with debut performances by the quartet in Japan, Korea and Australia – 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.”

“I like very much (producer) Manfred Eicher’s way of working, 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...”

In La Buissonne, the energy that the group had built up in live performance was re-channelled to make the fullest use of the potential for interplay. Of the material that Stanko brought to the session, only “Kattorna” was retained, a piece the trumpeter had played with Krzysztof Komeda’s group and recorded on the influential “Astigmatic” in 1965. Thirty years later, in ’95, Stanko’s young associates Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz, had revived the tune on their own pre-ECM Komeda tribute recording: it was a piece with which all participants were very familiar. Stanko, scattering sprays of notes, and aided by Marcin Wasilewski’s jabbing piano, guides it in fresh directions.

The closing piece, “Tale”, first appeared on “Balladyna”, Tomasz Stanko’s 1975 ECM debut, but is revived and transformed here at producer Eicher’s suggestion to round off the programme: Again, Wasilewski plays an important role, his thoughtful chording setting up Stanko’s soliloquy.

Elsewhere on the record the emphasis is all dialogue and interaction. The extended pieces “Lontano I”, “Lontano II” and “Lontano III” in particular indicate how much the quartet has grown in the five years since “Soul of Things”, as they create new music in the moment, together: all four musicians in accord, at a high level.

Stanko’s biography is a distinguished one, with many highlights and clearly defined ‘periods’. It is evident however that he has gained new energy and momentum from his association with Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz. In helping each of them to find their individual voices, he has strengthened his own.

In 2002, in the wake of “Soul of Things”, Stanko won the first European Jazz Prize, a major new award initiated by the Austrian Government and the City of Vienna. From the jury’s citation: “Stanko has developed a unique sound and personal music that is instantly recognizable and unmistakably his own... A world-class player, a stylist, a charismatic performer and original composer, his music now assuming simplicity of form and mellowness that comes with years of work, exploration and experience. Tomasz Stanko – a true master and leader of European jazz.”

In 2005 Stanko’s “Suspended Night” won the Australian Bell Award as Best Jazz Album of the Year. In the same year, Stanko placed in six categories in the Downbeat Critics Poll – a significant achievement for a European musician.

The group continues to tour widely, and will be supporting the release of “Lontano” with a 20-date coast-to-coast North American tour in October.