Once again I seem to have an insatiable appetite for jazz trumpet. And while Miles always factors prominently, there are two modern artists that deserve far more attention than I think they get. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing both at the Triple Door in the past months.
Tomasz Stanko has been a mainstay in the Eastern-European jazz scene for almost four decades. His music is rooted in the modal rebellion started by Davis, Coltrane, and Shorter. His handpicked twenty-something New Quartet reflects this: meaty pianist Marcin Wasilewski is two parts Hancock, one part Corea, and a dash of Mehldau without the arrogance. Stanko’s recent release, Suspended Night, is a transcendent series of variations on a theme. Minimalist touches and space reign supreme; the vast emptiness of the night pervades all. This is a worthy successor to Kind Of Blue, and while it says something new, it’s very much rooted in the sound and tradition of that era.
Dave Douglas is a truly modern jazz trumpeter and composer. The leader of five world-class bands, he’s probably best known for his participation in John Zorn’s Masada. Douglas’ nearly one-hundred CD releases run the gamut from pop to free jazz to electro-fusion; no two are the same. Of the sixteen I own, two require special mention: Charms of the Night Sky, a chamber-jazz exploration of Hungarian folk melodies, and The Infinite, an avant-jazz collection with a brilliant cover of Bjork’s “Unison.”