Tomasz Stanko Quintet Dark Eyes

Dark Eyes is poised, elegant and vibrating with emotion. Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko has been around for decades and his experience shows on this recording. Leading a fine aggregation, he gives his musicians plenty of space to express themselves, as his compositions unwind with curving inevitability. Tunes like "So Nice," "The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch" and others share a repeating structure: rubato unison melody, interlude, vamp, solos. Despite the fact that it quickly becomes a predictable gambit, the musicians keep things happening. "Dark Eyes" features swinging trumpet that erupts with Miles-ian, dark intensity and intense, cracked, squalling blasts. Pianist Alexi Tuomarila acquits himself on every solo with fluid, singing lines and an assured sense of development. "Grand Central" turns on a throbbing ostinato, breaks off and returns with shimmering piano, and another rubato unison melody. Stanko's artistic vision is clear and strong, making Dark Eyes a trip worth taking. (ECM)