Still relatively young – in 2016 he released S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities – the Denmark-domiciled Pole Tomasz Dabrowski is a musician of considerable experience. His CV includes work with Globe Unity, David Murray, Evan Parker, Aaron Parks, Richard Bona and Marilyn Mazur – and, most importantly, Tomasz Stanko.
Dabrowski played in the 10-piece Tomasz Stanko Experience and on this, his 10th album as leader, the intensity, the brooding yet expansive lyricism of the late, great man are very much the order of the day. Dabrowski even plays one of Stanko’s most treasured horns, lent to him by the Stanko family.
If this session is soaked in the spirt of the spaced-out Stanko free ballad, such as we find on classic albums like the mid-1970s Balladyna – sample JR and Old Habits – there is not a jot of pastiche to it. Dabrowski has his own sound and phrasing and his splendid septet – all Polish except for Danish saxophonist Fredrik Lundin and Norwegian drummer Knut Finsrud – take the soul and the spirit of Stanko into realms as freshly wrought as they are archetypal.
This is due partly to the dynamically attuned musicianship, and partly to the quality of the compositions and arrangements. The last feature shape-shifting blends of electronics and (doubled drum sets) cross-rhythms, as subtle and painterly as they can be dramatic, even filmic, in effect: hear Queen Of Mondays and Spurs Of Luck.
There is both wildness (Queen Of Mondays) and soul-wounding tenderness (Short Gesture) in music which hit me with unusual force. If you’re a Stanko enthusiast – or are drawn to the (very differently figured) poetry of an album like Matthew Halsall’s Fletcher Moss Park – you won’t want to miss this lovingly crafted and most resonant session, a surpassing achievement in contemporary European jazz.
JR; Old Habits; In Transit; Sandy; Troll; Queen Of Mondays; Short Gesture; Spurs Of Luck (41.51)
Dabrowski (t, elec); Fredrik Lundin (ts); Irek Wojtczak (ts, ss, elec); Gregorz Tarwid (p, kyb); Max Mucha (b); Knut Finsrud (d); Jan Emil Mlynarski (d, elec). Warsaw, May 2021.
April Records APR093CD