From the Green Hill

COMPOSERS: John Surman,Tomasz Stanko
PERFORMER: Tomasz Stanko (t), John Surman (bs, bcl), Dino Saluzzi (ban), Michelle Makarski (vn), Anders Jormin (db), Jon Christensen (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 547 336-2


The Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is another jazz original and the five other members of his international sextet also record for ECM either individually and/or as leaders. As a player, Stanko has always been an intrepid musical adventurer verging on abstraction.

Yet he is at heart-and-soul a jazz trumpeter, with an often huge and hoarse tone reminiscent of Roy Eldridge in the middle register and makes Eldridge-like passionate sorties into the extreme upper register. Stanko is also an excellent composer and nine of the 14 pieces on From the Green Hill were written by him, with John Surman contributing two fine pieces.

The unusual instrumentation – classical violinist, Argentinian bandoneòn player and jazz rhythm – magnifies Stanko’s haunting slavonic melancholia and occasional savage joy. The title track is a kind of lament, beginning with trumpet and bass clarinet rubato with bass and light percussion. There is a vocal quality, a cry, in both Stanko’s and Surman’s playing.

They improvise, then introduce a harmonised rhapsodic theme. Bandoneòn, bass clarinet and violin play together, with Saluzzi expressing very powerful feelings on his bandoneòn, and the whole performance ends with a kind of ecstatic sadness or tenderness.


Stanko’s ‘Bushka’, in contrast, has a light and lovely rhythm and a joyous and buoyant atmosphere throughout. This is a rich album.