Back in the autumn Tomasz Stańko performed his suite ‘Polin’ at the opening of the core exhibition of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.  An album has been released available via the museum featuring the trumpeter joined by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist David Virelles, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Kush Abadey.

“I accepted the assignment from the museum with great personal joy,” Stańko says, quoted on the museum’s website. “[A] musician’s primary tool of expression is sound. I believe that it is a duty of every positive-thinking person, both a Pole and a Jew, to search for various forms of closeness. Our histories have been intertwining for a thousand years. It is our common land. Our obligation is to make our relations beautiful and inspiring creative values and ideas. I am a Pole, of course, I live here and I speak Polish but to tell you the truth, I identify myself, first of all, as Tomasz Stańko. It seems to me that in future, people will feel like – to quote Witkacy – single monads, and will have various, intertwined roots which will bring magnificent results.”

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews opened in April 2013 and is located in what was once the heart of Jewish Warsaw – an area which the Nazis turned into the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II – the museum’s remit spanning the thousand-year history of Polish Jewry.

Polin is bound to be a much sought-after rarity occupying a parallel place in the 72-year-old’s discography to another Polish museum commission, 2005’s Wolność w sierpniu (‘Freedom in August’). The new album recorded in New York where Stańko lives for part of each year features a five-part suite named for the Hebrew word for Poland with the painter Gela Szeksztajn and the writer/painter Bruno Schulz among the trumpeter’s inspirations. Stańko’s last album, Wisława, which takes its title from the first name of Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska, was released in 2013. SG

Dezron Douglas, Kush Abadey, Tomasz Stańko, David Virelles, and Ravi Coltrane top at the recording of Polin