During the last decade Stanko has been spending time in New York and has formed alliances with some of the more exploratory young members of its visionary downtown scene. He will bring some of them with him when he plays at Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre on February 5, presented by UMS. Bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Gerald Cleaver, who was born and raised in Detroit, form part of one of his current groups, but he will also be featuring Tim Berne, one of the finest alto saxophonists of the more adventurous brand of jazz. Together, they will in part revisit music from Stanko's 1975 record Balladyna. The title tune from the album is a reference to a wild Romantic play by the nineteenth-century classic Polish poet Juliusz Slowacki, a play full of fantastic scenes, nymphs, castles, love, jealousy, and death--a perfect metaphor for Stanko's art. The day before, on February 4, he will also be giving the annual Copernicus Lecture at U-M, sponsored by the Polish Studies Program, in the form of an interview by this writer.
[Originally published in February, 2015.]