Stanko and Bielsko-Biala Festival

Tomasz Stanko concludes a busy year with a festival under his artistic direction in the Polish town of Bielsko-Biala from December 1-3. Featured artists include Manu Katché’s Neighbourhood band, with Trygve Seim substituting for Jan Garbarek (who is still on a mammoth tour with the Hilliard Ensemble), Louis Sclavis, Anja Lechner and Vassilis Tsabropoulos, the Tim Berne Trio, and the John Abercrombie Quartet, as well as the Stanko Quartet and its satellite group, the trio of Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz and Michal Miskiewicz.

A new project with Stanko plus Abercrombie and Marc Johnson will also make its Polish debut. The Stanko Quartet recently completed a new album for ECM, produced by Manfred Eicher at Studio La Buissonne in the South of France, and slated for 2006 release. The recording came in the final stages of a world tour, following dates in Japan, Australia and South Korea. In Tokyo, the band broke the attendance record for concerts held under the auspices of the Polish embassy. In Australia, where both “Soul of Things” and “Suspended Night” won album-of-the year awards, they played the Wangaratta Jazz Festival and Sydney’s St James Church, concerts described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “some of the most compelling jazz of recent times”.

Last week the Stanko group appeared on a fascinating double-bill at the London Jazz Festival, playing opposite Charles Lloyd’s new trio with Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland (who also have an album release scheduled for 2006). At the Barbican Centre, both bands received ovations from an audience of two thousand listeners.

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