Jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko began his tenure as a major force in European free jazz in the early '60s with the formation of the quartet Jazz Darins in 1962 with Adam Makowicz. From 1963 to 1967 he played with Kryzsztof Komeda in a group that revolutionized European jazz and made an impact across the Atlantic as well. Stanko also put in time with Andrzej Trzaskowski in the 'mid 60s before leading his own quintet from 1968 to 1973. The TomaszRead more Stanko Quintet, which included Muniak and Zbigneiw Seifert, garnered considerable critical acclaim, especially for their tribute to Komeda entitled Music for K. The early '70s brought collaborations with a number of avant-garde and creative jazz artists, including the Globe Unity Orchestra, Michael Urbaniak, Cecil Taylor and Gary Peacock. From 1974 to 1978 Stanko played in a quartet with Edward Vesala, then returned to performing as a leader and soloist. The '80s brought Stanko collaborations with Chico Freeman in Freeman's group Heavy Life, as well as work with James Spaulding, Jack DeJohnette and Rufus Reid. He was also briefly part of Cecil Taylor's big band in 1984. Shortly afterwards he formed another ensemble called Freelectronic. The '90s brought an alliance with ECM, which issued some of Stanko's most acclaimed work, including another lush, gorgeous tribute to Komeda, 1997's Litania, which was heavy with that composer's film work. The follow-up on ECM, 2000's From the Green Hill, drew from many of the same emotional and historic sources as Komeda's work, but this time the compositions were Stanko's. In 2002 Stanko's contributions to European jazz were honored when he was issued the very first European Prize, which was intended to honor outstanding European jazz musicians. During the final round of voting from 21 critics from as many countries, Stanko won 10 votes, narrowly topping the runner-up, Dutch piano player Misha Mengelberg. Read less
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