Wooden Music II LP
The discovery of Tomasz Stańko's archive recordings from 50 years ago at Radio Bremen demonstrated the dynamic development of this shrouded in mystery quintet, which was a blank spot in the history of Polish jazz. Released by Astigmatic Records, the album turned out to be a surprise and a huge musical treat for many fans who no longer remember such a fiery period in the career of the outstanding trumpeter. The record received much critical acclaim and sold out in a blink, and Jazz Forum magazine recognised Wooden Music I as the historic album of the year. Now the time has come for the 2nd and final installment of wooden music.
It takes more than one album to fully illustrate the evolution of the band with which Tomasz Stańko, as its leader, recorded Music for K, one of the most important albums in Polish jazz. It is the early 1970s, Zbigniew Seifert gives up the saxophone in favour of the violin, so the band's sound becomes more 'wooden', and around this expression Stańko builds the foundations of a philosophy, which he wrote down on four small sheets of paper, still kept by Bronisław Suchanek, the quintet's bass player:
We seek to create the kind of music that, while operating with all the elements of the most genuine jazz, attempts to look at it from a different angle, from a different mental plane. We do not experiment with the material, but with the form. For the form does not have to be a logical and strict construction of the entire piece, it can be free, improvised while playing, resulting from the mood, or atmosphere existing at a given moment, or random things, creating with their free fluidity that specific "magical mood". This, of course, excludes compositions in the traditional sense - Tomasz Stańko wrote at the time.
Wooden Music is therefore like a postcard - not so much of a specific gig, but of the entire period of the quintet's activity. It opens with compositions featured on Jazzmessage from Poland. Wooden Music I recorded in Bremen on 15 June 1972 is its peak - when the band plays free, vigorous music, but more sensitively planned, as the group is more in-tune after hours of joint stage encounters. Wooden Music II, recorded in Hamburg on 9 November 1972, is the conclusion of their vision of free-jazz - the final phase where composed pieces ("Calme" and "6 & 8") begin to emerge from wild improvisation. Some of these would, a few months later, find their way onto an iconic piece in Tomasz Stańko's discography - the Purple Sun album (e.g. "Flute's Ballad")... but with a slightly different line-up. When the band decides to wrap up, they are at the peak of their form, each feeling the need to develop on their own. They know when to step off the stage. They are invincible.
Tomasz Stańko Quintet was one of the most outstanding European free jazz ensembles of its time. The Polish musicians, plus a plethora of individuals such as Brötzmann, Mangelsdorff, Schlippenbach, Vesala or Surman, contributed to a movement which, while co-operating with the American avant-garde, had its own specificity and its own unique audience. Polish jazzmen, newcomers from behind the Iron Curtain, were seen as carrying a message of freedom to the countries of the region. It took many years for this message to come true. Today, European jazz seems to be far more erudite, emotionally restrained, intellectual, seeking links with contemporary avant-garde and ethno music. It's all very beautiful, but sometimes one would like to discard all of this extra wrapping and bring out the essence of jazz - the synergic energy and striving for the limits of expression, even if it poses the risk of a musical explosion - Tomasz Szachowski states in Jazz Forum. Therefore, it is time to see if we are dealing with explosive material in the case of the second installment of wooden music.
Thus, the Wooden Music series culminates with its second part coming from the archives of NDR radio, which recorded the footage in a small club in Hamburg called Jazzhouse. This time, the additional stem-mastering was done by Marcin Cichy, who perfected the sound on the album even more. The infallible Matt Colton is once again responsible for the half-speed cut of the vinyl matrix. Wooden Music II will be released on Astigmatic Records in digital, CD and LP versions, as well as in a limited edition on purple vinyl, with a B2-size poster designed by Natalia Łabędź. The premiere of the album will take place on 27 October, and pre-orders for the disc will start on 6 October 2023.
2. 6 & 8 I
3. 6 & 8 II
4. Flute's Ballad
Tomasz Stańko Quintet
Tomasz Stańko - trumpet
Zbigniew Seifert - violin
Janusz Muniak - soprano saxophone, flute, percussion
Bronisław Suchanek - double bass
Janusz Stefański - drums, flexatone
All compositions are a result of collective improvisation.
Recorded by Norddeutscher Rundfunk at Jazzhouse, Hamburg 9.11.1972
Recording Supervisor: Michael Naura
Recording Engineer: Sönke Hennings
Executive Producer: Stefan Gerdes (NDR)
Mastered by Marcin Cichy - Plug Audio Mastering
Lacquer half speed cut by Matt Colton at Metropolis Studios
Graphic design: Natalia Łabędź
Translation: Magda Marcinkowska
Photo: Paweł Karpiński
- Tomasz Stańko Quintet
- 27 październik 2023
- 1 / LP
- 27 październik 2023
- Astigmatic Records