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21

MONDAY

A student of Willis Conover’s Voice of America Jazz Hour, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko was barely out of his teens when he began playing with pianist and Polanski soundtracker Kryzsztof Komeda in 1963. Ornette Coleman’s This Is Our Music was his bible, Stanko says, and jazz in general was “like freedom”—the antithesis of communism. Stanko took his sonic independence as far as he could in those days, exploring the outermost reaches with Ornette pocket-trumpeter Don Cherry and free-improv pianists Cecil Taylor and Alexander Von Schlippenbach. But the fall of the Iron Curtain found Stanko re-embracing the traditional language of those old Conover broadcasts. The trumpeter’s latest discs, 2002’s Soul of Things and 2004’s Suspended Night—both typical ECM affairs, full of melody, restraint, and between-note humidity—remind one of nothing so much as Miles Davis at his most languorous and mood-evoking. The Tomasz Stanko Quartet plays at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $18. (202) 337-4141. (Brent Burton)