POLISH trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, whose albums Soul of Things (2003) and Suspended Night (2004) were gonged by Australia’s Bell Awards judges, once said he loved the “extremely great melancholy mood” of Antonioni’s film Il Grido.
Stanko’s sublimely mournful playing is a brooding presence in this restrained outing, as he welcomes two Finns — pianist Alexi Tuomarila and drummer Olavi Louhivuori — and Danes Jakob Bro on guitar and Anders Christensen on electric bass to explore his hauntingly simple, moving compositions — including a reworked Last Song — and two by his film mentor, pianist Krystof Komeda.
The mood lightens in Grand Central and an upbeat finish to The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch (inspired by an Oskar Kokoschka painting), but Stanko’s plaintive and grittily soulful horn is paramount.
That said, Tuomarila’s lyricism and Bro’s subtlety combine perfectly with the grounding of Christensen and Louhivuori.
In Dark Eyes lies sombre satisfaction.
DOWNLOAD: The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch
FILE BETWEEN: Chet Baker, Miles Davis
Review published previously in Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne