Tomasz Stanko Quintet | Logan Square Auditorium | International | Chicago Reader

Tomasz Stanko Quintet Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Fri., April 9, 9 p.m. 2010

Arguably the greatest jazz instrumentalist Poland has ever produced, trumpeter Tomasz Stanko has long cleaved to a brooding, romantic sound—his atmospheres tend to be dark, his melodies scarred and scuffed. For much of the past decade he's been making delicately beautiful records with a young Polish piano trio fronted by Marcin Wasilewski, who've given the music a drifting, vaporous feel despite the physicality of Stanko's playing. The Scandinavian group backing him on the gorgeous new Dark Eyes (ECM) does little that departs from the plushness of his previous work, but at the same time it pushes him to be more visceral and extroverted. Finnish drummer Olavi Louhivuori has a relatively aggressive style, and Finnish pianist Alexi Tuomarila—who made a terrific trio album called Constellation for Jazzaway in 2006—and Danish guitarist Jakob Bro prod Stanko with darting figures and taut dissonance even as they cushion him with a rich harmonic palette. On "Terminal 7" the music bristles with tension—Tuomarila and electric bassist Anders Christensen trace the chord changes with meticulous, pointilistic repetition, in stark contrast to Stanko's flowing lines—and on the episodic "The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch" the group's fierce swing recalls the mid-60s version of the Miles Davis Quintet. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20, $15 in advance

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