Stańko was example not only for musicians - NY Times critic

Tomasz Stańko, one of the greatest musicians in the Polish jazz history, died on July 29 at the age of 76. Jacek Turczyk/PAP

Polish outstanding trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, who recently passed away, set an example not only for musicians, New York Times jazz music critic Ben Ratliff has told PAP.

Tomasz Stańko, one of the greatest musicians in the Polish jazz history, died on July 29 at the age of 76. He was a trumpeter, composer, arranger and the leader of many bands, known and valued not only on the Polish but also on the European jazz scene. His achievements were also appreciated in the United States, where he often played with other artists. Stańko lived in New York for several years.

According to Ratliff, Stańko's music represented the tradition of jazz, bandleading in small groups and discipline. "He set a great example, not only for musicians," the critic added.

The Polish artist was fascinated by American jazz. He used to come to New York to concerts since 2002. Stańko played in Manhattan's jazz clubs, inviting musicians living in the metropolis to cooperate with him.

Ratliff wrote about the last studio recording of Stańko in New York, the 2013 album "Wisława" for the record label ECM founded in Munich. He described him as one of the artists who suggest that "his music is a reflective and melancholy state of being rather than a set of tunes."

The trumpeter was invited to work together with Krzysztof Komeda, a famous Polish pianist and composer. Stańko made his debut with the new Komeda quintet at Warsaw's Jazz Jamboree festival in 1963.

The Polish jazz trumpeter recorded an album with the New York Quartet band, also consisting of pianist David Vireless, double bass player Thomas Mordan and drummer Gerald Cleaver.

"The quartet’s sound reflects Mr. Stańko’s trumpet tone: clean, slow, blobby, vulnerable. Most of the time the playing stays almost exaggeratedly soft and loose, a studio-based, silence-valuing, meditative sort of jazz that has long marked his own small-group style, as well as the core identity of ECM records," Ratliff wrote in New York Times.

Stańko said in one interview that he bought an apartment in Manhattan because it was a city of great jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.

Stańko also pointed out to his fascination with the Polish poet and Nobel Prize laureate Wisława Szymborska. The trumpeter said that she was "a very charismatic person (...) she was a kind of glue for my albums, her poems absolutely inspired me and gave me the strength to make a New York album."

The Polish trumpeter called ECM's music very specific and very special. He also praised his cooperation with the label's founder, Manfred Eicher.