Monday, 11 December 2017

Tomasz Stańko Quintet - Jazzmessage From Poland (1972)

The 70s fusion-era Stańko Quintet recorded live in Iserlohn, Germany in May 1972.  Other than a change of bassist, this is the group that would go on to record Purple Sun the following year.  The music here is therefore in a similar trumpet-violin-flute-sax vein, if perhaps a bit more laid back and exploratory across these two side-long tracks.

AEOIOE/Heban settles into a nice shuffling groove for most of its duration, with Zbigniew Seifert's violin to the fore for much of it.  Things become much more free towards the end - presumably the 'Heban' part, for which Seifert is credited as the writer.  Piece For Diana/Wood's Music Serie starts off quite free and mellow too, with some extremely odd noises being coaxed from the reeds.  There's some nice flute, but again the star soloist seems to be Seifert for much of the track.  Not that I'm complaining - Seifert (1946-1979) was a wonderful musician, and I definitely need to give his solo work more of a listen sometime soon.

Perhaps it's a bit odd for a Stańko Quintet album to have the band leader taking a back seat so much, but to be honest I quite like how Stańko doesn't dominate proceedings here, but leaves room for everyone.  He does ignite properly about halfway through the second track, but even then it's as a contributor to a free-for-all rather than a full spotlight.  If you're wanting to listen to Stańko for his trumpet playing then, this is maybe not the ideal album to seek it out - but if you're after some great Eastern-European jazz fusion being played by an open, organic-sounding group, then this is a jazzmessage well worth receiving.

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