breath of life+Tomasz Stanko

Breath of Life: a conversation about black music, a blog by Kalamu and Mtume ya Salaam did this really awesome piece on this Polish trumpet player that I have been digging on for quite sometime now, Tomasz Stanko.

I am not going to say to much more about it, but i think the following quotes speak volumes not only about the reach, influence and impact of African American culture in general, but jazz in particular.
go over to Breath of Life and read the piece and go out pick up some of Stanko’s music…you won’t be disappointed. While you are over there check out the archives, these brothers are having some really important and sharp convo about not just music by people of African descent but music in general.

The message was freedom. For me, as a Polish who was living in Communist country jazz was synonym of Western culture, of freedom, of this different style of life.
—Tomasz Stanko

I find all attempts to confront and to be against inherited reality to be natural ones and the desirable ones. It’s life. To explore and to learn you can start from any point, it could be as well here and now. If you like jazz you don’t necessary need to know what was in the past, which includes my music. It all depends on one thing – the sensibility of he listener.


Myself, I’ve always been a mix of two extremes:

– Obsession for the innovation

– Love for classically understand concept of tradition and “beauty”. By “beauty” I mean the same approach and esthetics we find in Balthus’ paintings.


I’ve never distinguished between my desire for advance which guided my life and my love of mainstream and modal jazz of Trane and Miles or Chet Baker’s moods. I’ve always listened to diverse music: from Nancy Wilson to Brazilian samba to Keith Jarrett. My sound was inspired by very traditional trumpeter Buck Clayton, who has never played anything close to modern jazz but I was able to incorporate his colors, ambiance and his unique “dirty sound” into my own vocabulary. Free jazz has always been for me a philosophy of life, my way of life. It’s something which determines my personality and who I am; not necessarily what music I play. I love Cecil Taylor stuff but Taylor’s inspirations have never precluded me from listening to say, pop music. After all jazz is primary about the tolerance.
—Tomasz Stanko

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