jazz trumpeter and composer; b. 11th July 1942 in Rzeszów. He began to study music in 1949: firstly, the violin at Kraków School of Music, then the trumpet at the State Secondary School of Music. In 1964-69 he studied the trumpet with Professor Ludwik Lutak at Music Academy in Kraków.
He debuted on Kraków's jazz scene in the late 1950s. In the 1960s he became its mainstay, and recorded the masterpiece of European jazz: the album Astigmatic.
In the early 1970s the Tomasz Stańko Quintet became a leading act on the free jazz scene, performing at Europe's top festivals. Stańko's standing got even stronger with such projects as Uni (with Adam Makowicz, 1976) and with a quartet (co-led with Edward Vesala), which signed up with ECM record company in 1975. Their album Balladyna became legendary on both sides of the Atlantic. In the 1980s Stańko played in Cecil Taylor's ensembles, and led his own line-ups C.O.C.X. and Freelectronic, whose repertoires were drawing on reggae, Latino music, electronics and rap.
In the 1990s he set up a new quartet with Bobo Stenson, Anders Jormin, and Tony Oxley, which was hailed as the best jazz band of the decade. Their album Leosia (1997) received a top score of the Penguin Jazz Guide. Litania [Litany] released in 1997 introduced the music of Krzysztof Komeda to the world and became his first global bestseller. Thanks to the albums Soul of Things (2002) and Suspended Night (2004), recorded with a young Polish quartet at the beginning of the new millennium, Stańko entered the American music market and has been performing there ever since. In 2002 he became the first Polish winner of the European Jazz Prize (Vienna), while two years later he received the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, a prestigious state decoration. He has been regularly ranked as one of top ten jazz trumpeters by US magazine Down Beat. He has also been included on Down Beat's list of top ten composers.
He has released over 40 albums and has written music for films and theatre productions. In 2011 the Smithsonian Institution, world's largest museum and research complex, released a six-album compilation titled Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology, which concludes with Tomasz Stańko's Suspended Night Variation VIII. Also in 2011 Poland's president Bronisław Komorowski awarded Tomasz Stańko the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
On 14 January 2014 Stańko received the Paszport Polityki award in Poland, while the Académie du jazz in Paris led by François Lacharme presented him with the Prix du Musicien Européen for his current and lifetime achievements. He may also boast the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (The German Record Critics’ Award), one of the three annual honorary awards given by the independent association of more than 140 music journalists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
He is the organiser and director of the Jazz Autumn (Jazzowa Jesień) festival in Bielsko-Biała.
Updated: November 2014
Music for K - Tomasz Stańko Quintet, Polskie Nagrania Muza Jazzmessage from Poland - Tomasz Stańko Quintet, JG Records (1972)
The artist's website: www.tomaszstanko.com
Purple Sun - Tomasz Stańko Quintet, Calig Records (1973)
Fish Face - Tomasz Stańko, Poljazz (1974)
TWET - Tomasz Stańko, Tomasz Szukalski, Edward Vesala, Peter Warren, Polskie Nagrania Muza (1975)
Tomasz Stańko & Adam Makowicz Unit, JG Records (1975)
Unit - Tomasz Stańko, Adam Makowicz, PSJ (1976)
Balladyna - Stańko, Szukalski, Vesala, Holland, ECM (1976)
Live at Remont - Tomasz Stańko, Edward Vesala Quartet, Helicon (1978)
Almost Green - Tomasz Stańko Quartet (Stańko, Szukalski, Vesala, Danielsson), Leo Records (1979)
Music from Taj Mahal and Karla Caves - Tomasz Stańko, Leo Records (1980)
Stańko (W Pałacu Prymasowskim) - Tomasz Stańko, Poljazz (1983)
Music 81 - Tomasz Stańko, Kulpowicz, Szczurek, Bartkowski, Polskie Nagrania Muza (1984)
A i J - Tomasz Stańko, Kulpowicz, Szczurek, Bartkowski, Poljazz (1985)
C.O.C.X. - Tomasz Stańko, Apostolis, Szczurek, Torres, Pronit (1985)
Korozje - Tomasz Stańko, Andrzej Kurylewicz, Poljazz (1986)
Lady Go… - Tomasz Stańko, Apostolis, Szczurek, Hołuj, Polskie Nagrania Muza (1986)
Witkacy Peyotl / Freelectronic - Tomasz Stańko Poljazz (1988)
Chameleon - Tomasz Stańko, Utopia Records (1989)
Tomasz Stańko. Polish Jazz vol. 8, Polskie Nagrania Muza (1989)
Tales for a Girl, 12, and a Shaky Chica - Tomasz Stańko, JAM (1991)
Bluish - Tomasz Stańko, Power Bros (1992)
Bosonossa and Other Ballads - Tomasz Stańko, GOWI (1993)
A Farewell to Maria - Tomasz Stańko, GOWI (1994)
Balladyna – Theatre Play Compositions - Tomasz Stańko, GOWI (1994)
Matka Joanna - Tomasz Stańko Quartet, ECM (1995)
Roberto Zucco - Tomasz Stańko, Polonia (1996)
Leosia - Tomasz Stańko, ECM (1997)
Litania - Tomasz Stańko, ECM (1997)
From the Green Hill - Tomasz Stańko, ECM (1999)
Egzekutor (film score) - Tomasz Stańko, Universal (2001)
Reich (film score) - Tomasz Stańko, Universal (2001)
Soul of Things - Tomasz Stańko Quartet, ECM (2002)
Suspended Night - Tomasz Stańko Quartet, ECM (2004)
Selected Recordings - Tomasz Stańko, ECM (2004)
Freedom in August - Tomasz Stańko, FIRe (2005)
Lontano - Tomasz Stańko Quartet, ECM (2006)
1970 1975 1984 1986 1988 - Tomasz Stańko, Metal Mind (2008)
Dark Eyes - Tomasz Stańko Quintet, ECM (2009)
Wisława - Tomasz Stańko, ECM (2013)