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ECM Touchstones

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I don't remember Gnu High being all that exciting either really. Maybe I'm wrong.

Interesting that you should say that. I have seen more praise on the internet for Gnu High than any other ECM album. It was the first one of this batch that I thought I would order.

Gnu High is a slam dunk. I am not sure what type of Jazz you like but that is a safe pick and a great Jazz jazz quartet album.

Ralph Towner Solstice and Colin Walcott Cloud Dance are a couple of my all time favorites and are considered classics but it may not be your thing.

Edited by WorldB3

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I listened to the first track while making dinner tonight. Gorgeous tone on trumpet. Head, trumpet solo, piano solo, bass solo, head... somewhere after that, the music really gets going. Some fantastic group moments, though the overall feeling is rhythm section playing, and soloist playing. Then there's a cymbals solo with small gongs and bells.

I think my initial impression of this music is similar to how I reacted when I first heard Tony Williams Live in Tokyo. Where's the jazz? And I mentally classified it as "audiophile jazz" or something to that effect. Yes, I also have a "gameshow jazz" classification.

Over the years, as a track from Live in Tokyo comes into a random playlist, I will take notice, but on the whole, its not what I'm going for. Same with Gnu High. I also probably don't fully understand the pun, so...

All in all, probably safe, as WorldB3 suggests.

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No "Koln Concert"? They probably sell enough of those at the regular price. (I'm presuming that it's their biggest seller-- though I've never read that anywhere.)

So then it wouldn't be OOP. :blink:

Were the others all out of print?

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I'm still waiting for Lookout Farm!

There are some marvellous recordings in that reissue batch if your particular taste runs to the sort of approaches ECM favour (mine does). If funky and greasy is your touchstone then you'll almost certainly wonder what the fuss is all about.

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I'm just glad they aren't RVG remasters! ;)

Actually I doubt these are at all remastered, but I'd welcome an RVG interpretation of the Jarret's etc. (I'm a fan of RVG's Prestige, Blue Note and Impulse remasterings).

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No "Koln Concert"? They probably sell enough of those at the regular price. (I'm presuming that it's their biggest seller-- though I've never read that anywhere.)

So then it wouldn't be OOP. :blink:

Were the others all out of print?

I thought so. Or only as an expensive import.

Edited by 7/4

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I listened to the first track while making dinner tonight. Gorgeous tone on trumpet. Head, trumpet solo, piano solo, bass solo, head... somewhere after that, the music really gets going. Some fantastic group moments, though the overall feeling is rhythm section playing, and soloist playing. Then there's a cymbals solo with small gongs and bells.

I think my initial impression of this music is similar to how I reacted when I first heard Tony Williams Live in Tokyo. Where's the jazz? And I mentally classified it as "audiophile jazz" or something to that effect. Yes, I also have a "gameshow jazz" classification.

Over the years, as a track from Live in Tokyo comes into a random playlist, I will take notice, but on the whole, its not what I'm going for. Same with Gnu High. I also probably don't fully understand the pun, so...

All in all, probably safe, as WorldB3 suggests.

I listened to the entire album this morning... I guess I'm wrong. I think this should be a popular album. I may listen to it more often now that I've given it another listen. Still, not the kind of music that I usually listen to. Maybe I'll pull out Golden Quartet and see how it compares since its another trumpet quartet with Dejohnette on kit. That one was always good, but never hit me square on... maybe I'm wrong!

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If I didn't already have Gnu High, that would be the first one I would pick up. I think I found this used at Jazz Record Mart here in Chicago.

I found that many if not all of these Touchstone CDs are still available as Amazon MP3s (even if the CD had gone out of print), and in some cases quite reasonable (under $8), so that might be the route to go, esp. if you don't want to wait until Sept.

I think these are the ones I will pick up:

John Surman - Private City

Ralph Towner - Solstice

John Abercrombie / Dave Holland / Jack DeJohnette - Gateway

Ralph Towner - Batik

I'm a little on the fence about Jan Garbarek - I Took Up The Runes. Any thoughts?

I'll probably just download these from Amazon:

John Abercrombie/Ralph Towner - Sargasso Sea

Tomasz Stanko - Balladyna

John Abercrombie - Animato

So not quite as huge an order as I originally anticipated.

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I'm just glad they aren't RVG remasters! ;)

Actually I doubt these are at all remastered, but I'd welcome an RVG interpretation of the Jarret's etc. (I'm a fan of RVG's Prestige, Blue Note and Impulse remasterings).

Hey Lon - didn't mean to knock Rudy's mastering style so much as the wildly different "house sound" between ECM and BN/Prestige/etc. Mastering aside, I wish Rudy had recorded some of those ECMs - there's no doubt I'd probably like them more. :lol:

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I'm just glad they aren't RVG remasters! ;)

Actually I doubt these are at all remastered, but I'd welcome an RVG interpretation of the Jarret's etc. (I'm a fan of RVG's Prestige, Blue Note and Impulse remasterings).

Hey Lon - didn't mean to knock Rudy's mastering style so much as the wildly different "house sound" between ECM and BN/Prestige/etc. Mastering aside, I wish Rudy had recorded some of those ECMs - there's no doubt I'd probably like them more. :lol:

Hey, he's remastered Bluenotes he didn't record in the first place. Could be a good marketing gimmick for other labels , too...

ECM RVGs, CTI RVGs, OKEH RVGs, Gennett RVGs...

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I know it's not a serious suggestion, but remastering ECM as RVGs does sound a bit like re-cutting films from Europe for the American market. Most listeners in the States would remain uninterested and those who were would probably say they preferred the originals.

With a few exceptions, the music and the production at ECM works off a different aesthetic (and, in many cases, tradition) to American jazz. If you can't hear the beauties there in its existing form then no amount of technical tweaking is going to make it any more likely to give up its treasures.

I think 'Gnu High' was my first Wheeler album back in the mid-70s, but it's not one I return to a great deal. I'm not sure why - it sounds like a standard quartet date to my ears compared with Wheeler's later discs. I suspect that may come from years of hearing him on record, the radio and live in more unconventional groupings - everything from Azimuth (my favourite setting) to the early Dave Holland quintets (to say nothing of his occasional forays into the free world).

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I was just thinking the other day about how nice it might be to hear Dejohnette's New Directions band with a little less reverb, if just for the reverb-less clarity. The edge in Bowie's attack gets a little swallowed up in In Europe, for example, although I don't think the fittingly toneless Abercrombie would benefit too much from a rougher sound. Great music, nonetheless, so at the end of the day I can sleep easy.

I think it goes both ways, in terms of the ECM sound and the specifically European aesthetic of the music; a lot of the "American led" albums on the label might benefit from a drier sound. But then, there are parts of the AECO's Full Force that probably wouldn't sound right without all the muddle. Afternoon of a Georgia Faun and Jewel in the Lotus wouldn't be the same without some of those eerie touches.

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I was just thinking the other day about how nice it might be to hear Dejohnette's New Directions band with a little less reverb, if just for the reverb-less clarity. The edge in Bowie's attack gets a little swallowed up in In Europe, for example, although I don't think the fittingly toneless Abercrombie would benefit too much from a rougher sound. Great music, nonetheless, so at the end of the day I can sleep easy.

I think it goes both ways, in terms of the ECM sound and the specifically European aesthetic of the music; a lot of the "American led" albums on the label might benefit from a drier sound. But then, there are parts of the AECO's Full Force that probably wouldn't sound right without all the muddle. Afternoon of a Georgia Faun and Jewel in the Lotus wouldn't be the same without some of those eerie touches.

Probably the case with the examples you give.

But I sometimes think this idea that ECM albums would be more enjoyable with different production values misses the point that most of its output is very different from the US mainstream, regardless of how it was recorded.

I don't find the recent ECM recordings of Italians like Bollani, Trovesi or Rava as engaging as what I've heard elsewhere (on Splas(h) or Label Bleu, for example). But I don't think it's just the sound...I think the music itself is set up rather differently. There's something a bit solemn and self-consciously serious about it. Bollani is a player who is full of fun but you'd never guess this from his ECM recordings.

With music like that in this Touchstone series I have no problem - this was one of the ways I first heard jazz in the 70s so it fits my expectations; whereas I first got to enjoy Italian jazz elsewhere and have been a bit disappointed with the ECM releases. I think a fair amount of the criticism levelled at ECM simply comes from bringing one set of expectations and finding them not met by a very different approach. With people like the AEofC that's hardly surprising, given how extensively they were recorded elsewhere (though I first heard them on ECM so never had a problem with the sound of those records).

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Never sure how these things happen, but I don't think it's 'Lookout Farm' I've been waiting for at all. Somewhere out of my brain came a memory that the track I heard on the radio c.1978 had something to do with 'Green...Blue' (no, not that one!). A quick google revealed it to be Arild Anderson's 'Green Shading into Blue'.

ECM1127.jpg

So how about it, ECM? Much more interesting than an already available Pat Metheny in a snazzy new sleeve.

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Never sure how these things happen, but I don't think it's 'Lookout Farm' I've been waiting for at all. Somewhere out of my brain came a memory that the track I heard on the radio c.1978 had something to do with 'Green...Blue' (no, not that one!). A quick google revealed it to be Arild Anderson's 'Green Shading into Blue'.

ECM1127.jpg

So how about it, ECM? Much more interesting than an already available Pat Metheny in a snazzy new sleeve.

Indeed. Why not release Lookout Farm while they're at it, or Drum Ode or (a personal fave) Elm, or Conference of the Birds?

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Why not release Lookout Farm while they're at it, or Drum Ode or (a personal fave) Elm, or Conference of the Birds?

I don't think Conference of the Birds is OOP or unavailable.

.

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I was just thinking the other day about how nice it might be to hear Dejohnette's New Directions band with a little less reverb, if just for the reverb-less clarity. The edge in Bowie's attack gets a little swallowed up in In Europe, for example, although I don't think the fittingly toneless Abercrombie would benefit too much from a rougher sound. Great music, nonetheless, so at the end of the day I can sleep easy.

I think it goes both ways, in terms of the ECM sound and the specifically European aesthetic of the music; a lot of the "American led" albums on the label might benefit from a drier sound. But then, there are parts of the AECO's Full Force that probably wouldn't sound right without all the muddle. Afternoon of a Georgia Faun and Jewel in the Lotus wouldn't be the same without some of those eerie touches.

Probably the case with the examples you give.

But I sometimes think this idea that ECM albums would be more enjoyable with different production values misses the point that most of its output is very different from the US mainstream, regardless of how it was recorded. (Especially on cd).

I don't find the recent ECM recordings of Italians like Bollani, Trovesi or Rava as engaging as what I've heard elsewhere (on Splas(h) or Label Bleu, for example). But I don't think it's just the sound...I think the music itself is set up rather differently. There's something a bit solemn and self-consciously serious about it. Bollani is a player who is full of fun but you'd never guess this from his ECM recordings.

With music like that in this Touchstone series I have no problem - this was one of the ways I first heard jazz in the 70s so it fits my expectations; whereas I first got to enjoy Italian jazz elsewhere and have been a bit disappointed with the ECM releases. I think a fair amount of the criticism levelled at ECM simply comes from bringing one set of expectations and finding them not met by a very different approach. With people like the AEofC that's hardly surprising, given how extensively they were recorded elsewhere (though I first heard them on ECM so never had a problem with the sound of those records).

Leaving out the "European/American" aspects I simply personally feel I might enjoy hearing some of the ECM catalog in a different "sonic" signature. Sometimes the sound doesn't always serve the music to my hearing. I understand others may hear it differently.

Edited by jazzbo

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Why not release Lookout Farm while they're at it, or Drum Ode or (a personal fave) Elm, or Conference of the Birds?

I don't think Conference of the Birds is OOP or unavailable.

Oh stop one-upping me with the facts! :lol:

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Sorry, what was I thinking?

:rfr

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Why not release Lookout Farm while they're at it, or Drum Ode

I'd love to see those two out!!! Probably my favorite Liebman stuff.

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It's the shit that never came out on CD that we want!

:lol:

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Why not release Lookout Farm while they're at it, or Drum Ode

I'd love to see those two out!!! Probably my favorite Liebman stuff.

Drum Ode, and Arild Anderson's A Molde Concert, actually came out here in the States around the turn of the century!

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Oooo...pre-war.

.

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Why not release Lookout Farm while they're at it, or Drum Ode

I'd love to see those two out!!! Probably my favorite Liebman stuff.

Drum Ode, and Arild Anderson's A Molde Concert, actually came out here in the States around the turn of the century!

Was Molde Concert the first recorded Bill Frisell, or did something come before it? I need to give that one a spin tonight.

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