Tomasz Stanko – Almost Green (1979)

FrontCover1Tomasz Ludwik Stańko (11 July 1942 – 29 July 2018) was a Polish trumpeter and composer. Stańko was associated with free jazz and the avant-garde.

In 1962, Tomasz Stańko formed his first band, the Jazz Darings, with saxophonist Janusz Muniak, pianist Adam Makowicz, bassist Jacek Ostaszewski, drummer Wiktor Perelmuter. Inspired by Ornette Coleman and the innovations of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and George Russell, the group is often cited by music historians as the first European group to play free jazz. In his later years, he collaborated with pianist Krzysztof Komeda on Komeda’s album Astigmatic, recorded in late 1965. In 1968, Stańko formed a quintet whose members were Janusz Muniak (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute), Zbigniew Seifert (alto sax and violin), Bronisław Suchanek (bass), Janusz Stefański (drums, percussion). In 1975, he formed the Tomasz Stańko-Adam Makowicz Unit.

Stańko established a reputation as a leading figure not only in Polish jazz, but internationally as well, working with musicians including Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Reggie Workman, Rufus Reid, Lester Bowie, David Murray, Manu Katché and Chico Freeman. From 1984, he was a member of Cecil Taylor’s big band.

Tomasz StankoTomasz Stańko was born in Rzeszów, Poland, on 11 July 1942. His first encounters with jazz were through Voice of America radio programs and tours initiated by the U.S. State Department. Coming of age in Communist Poland, Stańko was impressed by the correlation jazz had with a message of freedom. In 1958 he saw his first jazz concert given by Dave Brubeck.[8] Along with the pianist Adam Makowicz and with the saxophonist Janusz Muniak, the group took inspiration from the music of musicians such as Ornette Coleman, George Russell and Miles Davis and was considered by many critics to be the first group in Europe to perform in the free jazz idiom.

In 1963 Stańko joined the Krzysztof Komeda quintet, where he learned much about harmony, musical structure and asymmetry. During his career with Komeda, which concluded in 1967, Stańko did five tours with the pianist and recorded eleven albums with him. In 1968 Stańko formed a quintet that met critical acclaim—one that included Zbigniew Seifert on violin and alto saxophone.[10] In 1970, he joined the Globe Unity Orchestra, and in 1971 he collaborated with Krzysztof Penderecki and Don Cherry. Not long after he formed a quartet that included himself, saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski and Finnish drummer Edward Vesala. His performances with Vesala are often considered to be some of his most important work. In 1975, he formed the Tomasz Stańko-Adam Makowicz Unit. (wikipedia)

Tomasz Stanko2

“Almost Green” is fourth and last record by great Stanko Quartet with Vesala and Szukalski, this time with wonderful dwarf Palle Danielsson on bass. Released by Finnish label Leo Records in 1979, this album was preceeded by “TWET” (Muza 1974), “Balladyna” (ECM 1976) and “Live at Remont” (Helicon 1978), each with different bassist. But always the rhythm section sounded pretty heavy and whole quartet freshly and recognizably. Maybe it is wishful thinking from my side, but I often thought when listening to “Balladyna” that there are some similarities with great Elton Dean Quintet’s “Boundaries”, and I got that feeling again with “Live at Remont” and “Almost Green”, which were completely new to me during last weeks… Thanks to original uploader svantetic and his former blog Almost Black, and to mew23, who kept this rip and shared it with us. BTW, “From Greenhills” theme is reprised as title track of Stanko’s 1999 ECM album “From The Green Hill”. (


Palle Danielsson (bass)
Tomasz Stanko (trumpet)
Tomasz Szukalski (saxophone)
Edward Vesala (drums)

Edward Vesala

01. New Song (Stanko) 10.37
02. From Greenhills (Stanko) 3.37
03. Slowly By (Stanko) 5.25
04. When On Earth (Stanko) 10.17
05. Almost Green (Stanko) 3.41
08. Megaira (Vesela) 3.48



Palle Danielsson

More from Tomasz Stańko:

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