Stano Táska & Strawberry Jam – Day By Day
from a demo recording 1997
This is simply unbelievable! The series of friends of mine passing away just doesn’t want to stop! Yesterday I’ve received an e-mail message that Stano Táska has tragically died last Saturday while kayaking in a creek near Adelboden, Switzerland. He was only 37 years old.
Stanislav “Stano” Táska was a goodhearted Slovak guy who came to Switzerland in the early 1990s. We met in March 1997 in Berne when I was looking for a new flatmate. Quickly we became good friends and so we were sharing the flat for more than a year. Stano used to live with Bobina, his Slovak girlfriend at that time, in one large room, while me and my cat were occupying the other two tiny rooms. He was originally an agronomist by profession, but also a very talented saxophonist. In Switzerland he began to play as a
street musician busker, later he studied at the Swiss Jazz School Berne and gigged with various jazz, funk and party combos all over the country. In the recent years he concentrated on his other passion though, working as a co-leader and cook of the Bernese restaurant Im Juli. And last but not least, Stano was also a passionate sportsman in all available elements: on earth, in the air and in the water. (Yes, it’s both him in action on those images!)
In my archives I have found several tracks featuring Stano on the tenor sax. My favorite one is the dynamic soul-jazz flavored tune Day By Day. It was recorded by the Strawberry Jam quartet in a rehearsal room in Solothurn on June 15th 1997 with my analogue 8 track mobile studio (yes, the one I once bought from Hannes Lange who passed away in April). Although I was the recording and mixing engineer of the session, I can only recall that the drummer’s name was Pascal Aeby.
Unfortunately, the guitarist and the bass player are unknown to me ten years later. And I’m not even sure if the tune was an original composition or a cover; to me it actually doesn’t sound like that known old standard as interpreted e.g. by Sinatra and many others.
A Swiss party group called Strawberry Jam seems to be active these days in the Solothurn area again. So it’s quite likely that there’s some kind of a connection to the above jazz quartet of the same name from 1997. (I can check it out later, although it’s quite beyond the scope of this blog.)
Pascal Aeby, the drummer of the original Strawberry Jam jazz combo, has written in the comments yesterday, that he’s the composer of this tune and that the other two musicians were Sven Rieger on guitar and Cosimo Staffieri on bass. The band broke up after Rieger had to return to Germany. He also stated that the Strawberry Jam party group mentioned above obviously has nothing to do with Stano’s and Pascal’s original group whatsoever.
Also in the late nineties, Stano used to be a member of the acid jazz combo Da Groove Yard from Burgdorf near Berne. They have released an EP entitled Good Talk then. Low quality audio examples as well as old photos with Stano on saxophone are still available on their web site. Since the group would also qualify for my Half Czech-In series, I might return to them in a future post. Their sound was nothing really earth-shaking though and even Stano didn’t blow his solos with as much juice as usual. I remember that he wasn’t very happy about playing with Da Groove Yard in general and eventually he quitted by the end of the decade.
Although we were in sporadic e-mail contact lately, I didn’t see Stano for over five years. Last summer I went to visit him in his restaurant during one of my very rare trips to Berne, but unfortunately he wasn’t there on that afternoon…
Rest in peace, Stano. You will be sorely missed by way too many!