Wednesday, 3 March 2010


When I checked Tomasz Stanko's official website the other day and saw that he was due to play in San Francisco and New York next month as part of a U.S. tour to promote his new CD, Dark Eyes, I recalled a comment I made back in November last year about timing my proposed epic rail journey across North America to coincide with a concert by either the Polish trumpeter or my other musical hero, pianist Keith Jarrett, and ever so briefly considered flying over to see Stanko in San Francisco and then traveling by rail to New York to see him again at Birdland (and to eat grilled stuff with Erik).

I then remembered that I'm visiting Tokyo later this month and couldn't possibly afford to make another overseas trip so soon after that one. Also, the Keith Jarrett Trio is performing in Tokyo in September-October, and I've promised to take Mrs Fool to see them to celebrate our wedding anniversary. And while I'd dearly love to see Stanko perform live again, the prospect of seeing him with his new quintet doesn't excite me as much as that of seeing him with his old quartet (with Marcin Wasilewski on piano), which I had the pleasure of doing back in March 2009. It seems that that quartet is a thing of the past. It produced just three CDs, including the sublime Lontano, which took me a while to get into but is now one of my all time favourite albums. I consider it a privilege to have seen that quartet perform live.

As Jarrett himself confirmed to an Italian audience in 2007 during one of his infamous outbursts, seeing Keith Jarret perform is also a privilege. Unlike Stanko, however, Jarrett doesn't believe in changing the personnel in his groups much. In fact his current trio (with Gary Peacock on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums) has been playing together for more than 25 years. And while I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the trio in Japan, if I had a time machine one of the first things I'd do, probably even before going back to Wellington on the night of 7 March 2009, would be to go back to the Village Vanguard in New York on the night in May 1979 when Jarrett's "European Quartet" (with Jan Garbarek on saxophone, Palle Danielsson on Bass, and Jon Christenson on drums) recorded the album Nude Ants. According to Ian Carr's Keith Jarrett: The Man and His Music, Garbarek was having an "off-night," but even that couldn't spoil the magic.

1 comment:

erik sanner said...

while it is a big bummer to hear that you won't make it over here for another while yet, i look forward to hearing about your other travels.