The Artistry of… Tomasz Stańko

Influence. The word in the arts speaks to a kind of continuum. A momentum where a generation’s steps are continued and the adventures and forays expanded, enhanced with the ingredients of succeeding creativity.

Many musicians have found inspiration in what came before, and they stand on the foundations of the same. The artist, influenced by that energy, takes it to fresher ground, mixes in many of their own elements and applies the drive of their contemporary time and place. There is a sum total, and that, brazenly curated and matured, is their artistry — a uniqueness made up of the richness of inspiration and influence, coupled with experiences.

The late Tomasz Stanko is a player whose music has an unmistakable definition. It came from a depth of influence and inspiration — a definition marked by an ability to seamlessly join lyrical melody with the adventure of freedom in improvisation.

Jazz represented a kind of freedom to the trumpeter when he was young, experiencing his first tastes of the music in then-communist Poland. He heard it on radio on Voice of America and from touring American jazz musicians. The music was freedom in and of the spirit. This inspired freedom affected creativity, influence and inspiration — the continued artistic steps.

The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.