But no matter how far-out the context, Stanko has always remained a melodic player. In recent years his tone has become more burnished, and the dark, brooding quality that has always been part of his music has come more to the fore. He is a thoughtful musician who, like Komeda, works with other artists. His music has often been programmatic, with references to Polish poetry and drama. Most recently, he has been performing in a quartet, backed by three excellent young Polish musicians. Their recordings are good, but they are even more impressive in person, as we learned last year when they appeared at the Firefly Club. Stanko returns to the Firefly with his quartet on Tuesday, March 15.
[Originally published in March, 2005.]