GA Russell

ECM Press Releases for New Items

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Always pleased to read about a new Sclavis. And not pleased to read a tour schedule with no UK date

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Enrico Rava flugelhorn
Joe Lovano tenor saxophone, tarogato
Giovanni Guidi piano
Dezron Douglas double bass
Gerald Cleaver drums

Enrico Rava, the doyen of Italian jazz, joins forces with Joe Lovano, masterful US tenorist. Together they lead a spirited quintet through well-loved tunes and more on this energetic live recording.
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Avishai Cohen trumpet
Yonathan Avishai piano

This first duo album bears testimony to a long musical friendship. Original compositions and a touching interpretation of an Israeli tune meet themes from jazz tradition improvised freely, playfully and soulfully.
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OTHER NEWS ON ECM

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 © 2019 ECM Records US, A Division of Verve Music Group. All rights reserved.
 
 
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Jan Garbarek / Hilliard Ensemble - Remember me, my dear
release date: October 18, 2019
Jan Garbarek: soprano and tenor saxophones
The Hilliard Ensemble:
David James: countertenor; Rogers Covey-Crump: tenor
Steven Harrold: tenor; Gordon Jones: baritone

25 years on from the release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, comes Remember me, my dear, recorded during the final tour the group made in October 2014. The program is emblematic of the range of repertoire the Norwegian saxophonist and British vocal quartet explored together- from Pérotin, Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume le Rouge, Antoine Brumel to Komitas, Arvo Pärt and more. It could be said that the Hilliard/Garbarek combination, in concert, transcended its source materials, with early music, contemporary composition and improvisation interfused in the responsive acoustics of sacred spaces. And this final album reminds us that the unique Garbarek/Hilliard combination, and its unprecedented exploration of sound, was consistently breathtaking.

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 1.  Louis Sclavis - L’heure Pasolini 09:43 
     
 2.  Benjamin Moussay - Shadows And Lines 07:24 
     
 3.  Louis Sclavis - La dame de Martigues 06:21 
     
 4.  Louis Sclavis - Extases 03:57 
     
 5.  Sclavis / Moussay / Murcia / Lavergne - Esquisse 1 02:04 
     
 6.  Louis Sclavis - Prison 05:07 
     
 7.  Sclavis / Moussay / Murcia / Lavergne - Esquisse 2 02:06 
     
 8.  Louis Sclavis - Darwich dans la ville 07:10 
     
 

 

ECM

 

 

 

Louis Sclavis

Characters On A Wall

 

Louis Sclavis: clarinets

Benjamin Moussay: piano

Sarah Murcia: double bass

Christophe Lavergne: drums

 

Release date: September 20, 2019

 

ECM 2645                

B0030958-02

CD UPC: 6025 778 3223 9           

LP UPC: 6025 080 4585 1

 

 

French clarinettist Louis Sclavis’s thirteenth album as a leader on ECM finds him drawing inspiration from two primary sources: the interventionist street art of Ernest Pignon-Ernest and the interpretive brilliance of his reconfigured quartet. Characters On A Wall marks, surprisingly, the first time that Sclavis has deployed the classic jazz line-up of reeds, piano, bass and drums on an ECM record. “This instrumental formation is one I hadn’t used for a long time,” says Louis. “It still feels new to me, and the band feels like a real jazz group – in its make-up, sonorities and sense of interplay.” The canonical format seems a good fit with the subject matter, given Pignon-Ernest’s position as a classicist among the street artists, balancing technical control and compositional elegance with a flair for subtle coloration and emotional drama.

 

Five Sclavis compositions, “L’heure Pasolini”, “La dame de Martigues”, “Extases”, “Prison” and “Darwich dans la ville” are musical responses to Pignon-Ernest’s in situ paintings from Paris to Palestine. The album also includes “Shadows and Lines”, written by pianist Benjamin Moussay. A frequent Sclavis associate over the last two decades, Moussay previously appeared on the albums Sources (recorded 2011) and Silk and Salt Melodies (2014). Repertoire on Characters on a Wall is completed by two collective pieces – “Esquisse 1” and “Esquisse 2” – which bring the improvisational resourcefulness of new group members Sarah Murcia and Christophe Lavergne to the fore.

 

Characters on a Wall marks the second time that Louis Sclavis has devoted an album to music inspired by the art of Ernest Pignon-Ernest. Napoli’s Walls (recorded in 2002) was an evocation of Pignon-Ernest’s work in the city of Naples. Characters, in contrast, is inspired by the artist’s work in all its periods. Sclavis: “Ernest’s work speaks to me very directly. When I look at his images, I don’t have to search for long – ideas come to me very quickly. But there’s no rule, no method. Each work generates its own form and compositional processes.”

 

The Village Voice once called Louis Sclavis “the most consistently impressive bass clarinettist since Eric Dolphy” but, as he has proven many times, his real instrument is the ensemble. He knows how to make his groups sing. Each of his bands has had a very distinct character, utilised by Sclavis to address a wide range of subject matter. “Sclavis

keeps renewing and reinventing himself,” Stéphane Ollivier remarks in the liner notes. “The clarinettist expands his universe ever further at the limits of established genres and styles, into hybrid shifting territory where the learned and the popular, the ultra-contemporary and the traditional meet.”

 

Benjamin Moussay started out studying classical piano at the Strasbourg Conservatory, before turning to jazz. In 1998 he was laureate of the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition. Playing experiences with Louis Sclavis, Archie Shepp, Jerry Bergonzi, Glenn Ferris, Daniel Humair and Tony Malaby have contributed to the development of his language and technique, but his scope is wide and he cites also the influence of contemporary composition, electronic music and rock and pop on his musical development. In the liner notes, Stéphane Ollivier describes Moussay as “a sophisticated, lyrical pianist, who brings an intensity of phrasing and a deep harmonic understanding to a vision of his instrument that is orchestral and scenographic.”

 

New bassist Sarah Murcia, a former student of the late J.F. Jenny-Clark (a contributor to important early ECM recordings including Paul Motian’s Le Voyage and Kenny Wheeler’s Around Six), moves adroitly between background and foreground responsibilities, both a powerful soloist and a driving presence. She has worked across several idioms in the course of her artistic journey, beginning with classical piano, and an early period as a cellist. On bass, she has recorded with Steve Coleman’s Five Elements Group and worked with numerous French improvisers. Her own project Never Mind The Future (line-up including Benoit Delbecq and Sclavis associate Gilles Coronado) has proposed improvised approaches to punk rock. Murcia also composes music for film and dance.

 

Drummer Christophe Lavergne has worked a similarly broad field. He studied at the Nantes Conservatory before finding his path as a jazz improviser, travelling often to New York where he studied with Billy Hart, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Charlie Persip, Adam Nussbaum, and Mike Clark among others. He has played or recorded with Thôt, Le Gros Cube, Caroline (with Sarah Murcia), Emmanuel Bex, Stéphane Belmondo, Benoît Delbecq and more.

 

Louis Sclavis’s ECM recordings include Rouge (recorded 1991), Acoustic Quartet (1993), Les violences de Rameau (1995/6), L’affrontement des prétendants (1999), Dans La nuit (2000), Napoli’s Walls (2002), L’imparfait des langues (2005), Lost on the Way (2008), Sources (2011), Silk and Salt Melodies (2014), and Asian Fields Variations (2016). He can be also be heard on Ida Lupino (2015) with Giovanni Guidi, Gianluca Petrella and Gerald Cleaver.

 

Characters on a Wall was recorded in Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in October 2018, produced by Manfred Eicher. The album is issued in both CD and LP formats. Liner notes by Louis Sclavis and Stéphane Ollivier are included, in French and English, plus photos of Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s artwork,

 

The Sclavis Quartet takes the music on the road in Europe this season:


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Maciej Obara Quartet - Three Crowns
release Date: October 25, 2019
Maciej Obara: alto saxophone; Dominik Wania: piano
Ole Morten Vågan: double bass; Gard Nilssen: drums

The half-Polish, half-Norwegian quartet led by fiery alto saxophonist Maciej Obara is gaining ground as one of the most exciting groups on the contemporary jazz scene. Both the band and its ECM debut Unloved were awarded the Fryderyk Prize in Poland in 2018, and early in 2019 the Obara Quartet also took first place at the BMW Jazz Awards in Munich. Now comes the quartet's second ECM album Three Crowns (named for the Trzy Korony mountains in Southern Poland). Its program is comprised of six new pieces by Maciej and two free arrangements of compositions by Henryk Górecki (1933-2010). The Obara Quartet launches the album with a major concert at the NOSPR Concert Hall in Górecki's hometown Katowice and follows up with a tour with dates in Poland, France, Austria and Germany.

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Kit Downes - Dreamlife of Debris
release Date: October 25, 2019
Kit Downes: piano, organ; Tom Challenger: tenor saxophone
Stian Westerhus: guitar; Lucy Railton: cello; Sebastian Rochford: drums

Dreamlife of Debris carries forward the story begun on Kit Downes's Obsidian, extending and developing its processes and core ideas. But where Obsidian was (almost exclusively) a solo church organ album, part of Kit's plan for Dreamlife was to put the organ in a broader context, and also to bring the piano into the larger compositional picture. Musicians in the project are primarily players with whom Downes has had long associations - saxophonist Tom Challenger, cellist Lucy Railton, drummer Seb Rochford - and there is also a first musical encounter with Norwegian guitarist Stian Westerhus. "I was interested to see how bringing in different people would change the direction of the recording." Dreamlife of Debris is issued in both CD and LP formats.
Don't miss the excellent liner note by Steve Lake in the CD booklet.

 
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 1.  Kit Downes - Sculptor 06:01 
     
 2.  Kit Downes - Circinus 04:15 
     
 3.  Kit Downes - Pinwheel 04:07 
     
 4.  Kit Downes - Bodes 12:41 
     
 5.  Kit Downes - Sunflower 02:31 
     
 6.  Kit Downes - M7 05:25 
     
 7.  Kit Downes - Twin 04:24 
     
 8.  Kit Downes - Blackeye 05:16 
     
 

 

ECM

 

 

 

Kit Downes

Dreamlife of Debris

 

Kit Downes: organ, piano

Tom Challenger: tenor saxophone

Stian Westerhus: guitar

Lucy Railton: cello

Sebastian Rochford: drums

 

Release date:  October 25, 2019

 

ECM 2632                            

B0031304-02

CD UPC: 6025 7783755 5            

LP UPC: 6025 0801588 5

 

 

Dreamlife of Debris carries forward the story begun on Kit Downes’s Obsidian, extending and developing its processes and core ideas. But where Obsidian was (almost exclusively) a solo church organ album, part of Kit’s plan for Dreamlife was to put the organ in a broader context, and also to bring the piano into the larger compositional picture. Musicians in the project are primarily players with whom the British keyboardist has had long associations – saxophonist Tom Challenger, cellist Lucy Railton, drummer Seb Rochford – and there is also a first musical encounter with Norwegian guitarist Stian Westerhus.

 

The album is drawn from sessions recorded at two UK locations – the 13th century church of St John the Baptist in the village of Snape in the Suffolk countryside and St Paul’s Hall (a converted 19th century church) at Huddersfield University – where the musicians arrived to variously interact with Downes. The instrumentalists meet - as Downes puts it - “in a space with no singular character”, with a dream-like ambience being created through overdubs and collage. Although the players do not come together as an ensemble, their appearance as individuals in changing constellations influences the direction of the shape-shifting music triggered by Downes’s improvising, arranging and composing.

 

Saxophonist Tom Challenger, who had a cameo role on Obsidian, has more to contribute here, not only featured as one of the primary instrumental voices but also co-composing the concluding track, “Blackeye”. Downes and Challenger had maintained an organ/sax duo for eight years prior to Dreamlife. With the present project, Downes brings the piano also into the picture. The bright opening section of “Sculptor”, the first track here, rings the changes, with alert sparkling piano gradually dissolving into organ drones.

 

Lucy Railton, previously heard with Kit on the ECM debut of Thomas Strønen’s ensemble Time Is A Blind Guide (2015), has also played Downes’s compositions for piano and cello in their duo Tricko. As a lapsed cellist– he’d played the instrument himself as a child – Kit says he takes a vicarious pleasure in writing for Railton, as can be deduced from the elegant “Pinwheel”.

 

The association between Seb Rochford and Downes – revived here on “Blackeye” - goes back a decade to a period when Kit occasionally played with the rock-influenced jazz group Acoustic Ladyland. Rochford drummed for that ensemble; the bassist was Ruth Goller, who contributes the haunting composition “M7” to Dreamlife, which Kit plays on solo organ, underlining the connections to Obsidian.

 

Guitarist Stian Westerhus was integrated into the project for a final session of improvising in Huddersfield. A mysterious presence, his sounds bubble to the fore in the middle of the track called “Bodes.”

 

***

 

Kit Downes was an organ scholar at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich before going on to study piano, organ and composition at the Purcell School and the Royal Academy of Music. He recorded and toured widely with the band Empirical while also working with – among others Django Bates and Lee Konitz.

 

He has led and co-led a number of groups in the last decade, including the trios Troyka and Quiet Tiger, the Neon Quartet (with Stan Sulzmann), and the quintet Light From Old Stars. Current projects include, in addition to solo piano and pipe organ performances, collaborations with saxophonist Tom Challenger, cellist Lucy Railton, composer Shiva Feshareki and with the band Enemy with Petter Eldh and James Maddren. More details at his web site: www.kitdownes.com

 

The recipient of a number of prizes, including the BBC Jazz award and the British Jazz Award, Kit Downes was a made a Fellow of the Royal Academy in their Honours List of 2019. In the DownBeat International Critics Poll of 2019, he was voted # 1 Rising Star in both Piano and Keyboard categories.

 

Downes presents music from Dream Life of Debris at concerts including the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (November 21), MAC Theatre, Birmingham (December 5), Anteros Arts, Norwich (December 6), and King’s Place, London (December 7).

 

 

 

 
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 1.  Maciej Obara Quartet - Three Pieces in Old Style (Pt. 1) 05:40 
     
 2.  Maciej Obara Quartet - Blue Skies For Andy 09:21 
     
 3.  Maciej Obara Quartet - Smoggy People 06:55 
     
 4.  Maciej Obara Quartet - Little requiem for a Polish Girl "Tranquillo" 09:17 
     
 5.  Maciej Obara Quartet - Vang Church 06:26 
     
 6.  Maciej Obara Quartet - Three Crowns 07:13 
     
 7.  Maciej Obara Quartet - Glow 07:34 
     
 8.  Maciej Obara Quartet - Mr.S 09:57 
     
 

 

ECM

 

 

 

Maciej Obara Quartet

Three Crowns

 

Maciej Obara: alto saxophone

Dominik Wania: piano

Ole Morten Vågan: double bass

Gard Nilssen: drums

 

Release date:  October 25, 2019

 

 

ECM 2662                            

B0031306-02

UPC: 6025 080 6970 3                              

 

Named for the Trzy Korony summit of the Pieniny mountain range in the south of Poland, Three Crowns could be described as a peak performance from the Maciej Obara Quartet, and one that builds upon the achievements of their ECM debut, Unloved. Recorded at Studios La Buissonne in March 2019, the album features six new pieces by bandleader Obara and, in an intriguing development, two versions of works by Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933-2010). This is the first occasion on which the Górecki family – whom Maciej came to know while living in Katowice, the composer’s hometown - has encouraged interpretations of the music by improvisers.

 

To Górecki’s Three Pieces In Old Style (Part One) and Little Requiem for a Polish Girl, composed respectively in 1963 and 1993, Maciej Obara and bandmates Dominik Wania, Ole Morten Vågan and Gard Nilssen bring the intensity and focus that distinguishes their work in the vanguard of contemporary jazz. Theirs is a special quartet with a layered and detailed sound, an alliance of highly individual players dedicated to the group work and able to find space for self-expression inside it.

 

Maciej Obara, whose concentrated alto sax sound balances lyricism and eruptive emotion, is ideally partnered by Dominik Wania, pianist of formidable technique and classical background: “both are improvisers of mercurial energies”, as The Guardian has noted. Wania who found his own path to jazz after emerging from the Krakow Academy with an honors degree in classical performance, first met Obara inside a Tomasz Stanko ensemble. It was at once clear that the impulsive, outgoing saxophonist and the introverted, analytical pianist shared a profound musical understanding. Their debt to Stanko is expressed in the elegiac “Mr. S” which closes Three Crowns, a free-floating piece atmospherically close to the spirit of Balladyna.

 

Norwegian musicians Ole Morten Vågan and Gard Nilssen, who joined the two Poles in 2012, have since played together in many other contexts, but it was in the Obara group that they first honed their synergetic rapport. In this ensemble, old notions of front line and rhythm section responsibilities are frequently overturned. Gard Nilssen’s unrestrained approach to drums and cymbals takes further the waves-of-sound, waves-of-energy approach of Jon Christensen and Audun Kleive, as his dramatic playing on the title track here makes plain. And Ole Morten Vågan roves freely inside the group sound, as likely to add ideas of his own as to adhere strictly to harmonic and rhythmic roles.

 

Obara has described the strongly melodic themes he gives to his group as outlines, “from which our sound is set free,” each of the players giving shape, color and impetus to the music. Ole Morten Vågan’s is the first instrumental voice heard on “Blue Skies for Andy”. Maciej Obara’s heartfelt tribute to his late father, who spent much of his life playing within the Roma community, is a key piece in the new repertoire and an absorbing journey in itself, covering a lot of ground in its nine-and-a-half minutes’ duration, as the band members rally behind the leader’s dynamic alto solo and then expand upon its implications.

 

Dominik Wania has plenty of powerful moments on Three Crowns, with “Glow”, emerging from the latticework of the pianist’s unaccompanied introduction, especially compelling as it zigzags exhilaratingly through successive plateaus of intensity. The Obara/Wania sound combination is deployed very dramatically here, at times conveying the impression that the musicians are completing each other’s thoughts in the pressurized, speeding world of improvisation.

 

The Obara Quartet’s star has been steadily on the rise in recent seasons. In May the group took First Prize in the BMW Jazz-Welt Competition in Munich. The Award Jury’s citation spoke of the “enormous amplitude of emotion, the dynamics and the possibility of expression with which Obara and his quartet were able to fascinate the audience…His lyrical saxophone playing, the strength of his compositions and the unchained power of this outstanding ensemble’s improvisations turned the quartet into this year’s winner.”

 

Individually, too, the players have been making headway, with Gard Nilssen featured as artist-in-residence at this year’s Molde Festival, Ole Morten Vågan continuing to direct the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra (most recently in a collaboration with Cory Smythe), and Dominik Wania preparing material for a forthcoming ECM solo album.

 

The Maciej Obara Quartet presents the music from Three Crowns on tour in Europe this season with concerts including the ECM50 festival at Oslo’s Nasjonal Jazz Scene.

For more information: www.maciejobara.com, www.ecmrecords.com

 

 

 

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 1.  Armenian Traditional / Komitas - Ov zarmanali 06:00 
     
 2.  Anonymous - Procurans odium 03:23 
     
 3.  Jan Garbarek - Allting finns 04:00 
     
 4.  Nikolai N. Kedrov - Litany 09:00 
     
 5.  Anonymous - Dostoino est 03:16 
     
 6.  Anonymous - Sanctus 07:50 
     
 7.  Arvo Pärt - Most Holy Mother Of God 04:11 
     
 8.  Anonymous - Procedentum sponsum 04:17 
     
 9.  Guillaume le Rouge - Se je fayz deuil 06:17 
     
 10.  Pérotin - Alleluia nativitas 05:09 
     
 11.  Hildegard von Bingen - O ignis spiritus 07:29 
     
 12.  Jan Garbarek - We are the stars 05:19 
     
 13.  Antoine Brumel - Agnus dei 06:10 
     
 14.  Anonymous - Remember me, my dear 05:13 
     
 

Garbarek blends with the vocal lines – sung captivatingly by the Hilliards – like a fifth voice. With restraint and the greatest of control he wanders and floats through the spaces created by the singers…The early music is not just given a modern sheen. Garbarek explores a space from the inside, but with a sound whose hymnic character and pathos cannot be denied. The music raises the question of what is old and what is new.

Peter Rüedi, Die Weltwoche

 

 

25 years on from the release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, comes a live album from their unforgettable final tour. Remember me, my dear, named for the Scottish ballad which concludes the concert, was recorded in October 2014 at Chiesa della Collegiata dei Santi Pietro e Stefano in Bellinzona, in the Ticino canton of Switzerland. The album embodies all the special attributes of this unique alliance between the Norwegian saxophonist and the British vocal ensemble.

 

The musicians were first brought together by producer Manfred Eicher and “something came into existence that was not there before”, in the words of Jan Garbarek. Officium, the debut album, was released in 1994 and the music touched a large international audience. A million copies of Officium were sold swiftly, and a thousand concerts - many in churches, abbeys and other sacred spaces - followed over a 20-year period. And there were further recordings, the double album Mnemosyne (1998) and Officium Novum (2009). The repertoire of Remember Me is drawn from all three albums and adds a new piece, “Procurans odium”, a medieval song preserved at the Bavarian monastery of Benediktbeuern. All of the music is transformed by the live context, by the subtlety of the singers, and the improvisational daring of Jan Garbarek. “He can pick up on anything, and his ears are phenomenal,” David James has said. “The slightest nuance, he’ll play into it and feed something back – it’s just so thrilling to perform with him.” Jan Garbarek, near the beginning of the association: “I’ve loved medieval music for years. The old music is very familiar to me, for it uses modes which you find in folk music and jazz. I find it completely natural to join in with it, and it has since broadened my whole perspective of playing.”

 

The range of music addressed expanded as the Officium project developed. Remember Me, My Dear begins with an Armenian traditional piece in an arrangement by Komitas. There is also contemporary music, including Arvo Pärt’s “Most Holy Mother of God”, and two Garbarek compositions: “We are the stars”, based upon Native American poetry, and “Allting finns”, a particularly beautiful setting of a poem by Swedish author Pär Lagerkvist. On the present recording it segues into the Litany of Russian composer Nikolai Kedrov, whose music spanned the 19th and 20th centuries, integrated here alongside 12th century music of Hildegard von Bingen, 13th century music of Pérotin, and more. In the playing of Garbarek and the singing of the Hilliards, time is dissolved in the resonant performance space.

 

“Hard, smooth stone surfaces and an abundance of air were the properties we sought,” wrote Jan Garbarek in a program note. When these were available, “the concerts were bliss. Flowing so easily, the sonority of the voices hovering harmoniously under every arch and vault, filling every corner of splendent space. Sax roaming freely above, below inside the vocal texture, a soaring sum of parts…” The Bellinzona concert, two months from the final show, bears out this description.

 

The retirement of the Hilliard Ensemble, after a forty-year career, also brought the Officium collaboration to an end. The last Officium performance was at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, in December 2014. The outstanding recordings remain, the Officium-Mnemosyne-Officium Novum cycle now augmented by Remember Me, My Dear.

 

The Hilliards can also be heard on a further 40 ECM titles, singing everything from Tallis and Gesualdo to Arvo Pärt and Gavin Bryars. Jan Garbarek is of course one of ECM’s primary artists, first recording for the label in 1970 with Afric Pepperbird and subsequently appearing on dozens of albums as leader, co-leader, and featured soloist with composers including Eleni Karaindrou and Giya Kancheli.

 

CD booklet, in English and German, includes a performer’s note by Gordon Jones, and liner notes by Paul Griffiths and Steve Lake.

 

 

 

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“One awaits the rest of the series breathlessly, but it's possible that this volume, with a Beethoven performance for the ages, will tower over the rest.”  - allmusic

 
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Beethoven / Schnittke / Bach

Rune Tonsgaard Sørensenviolin
Frederik Øland: violin
Asbjørn Nørgaard: viola
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin: violoncello 

The Danish String Quartet’s Grammy-nominated Prism project links Bach fugues, late Beethoven quartets and works by modern masters. In volume two of the series, Bach’s Fugue in Bb minor from the Well-Tempered Clavier (in the arrangement by Viennese composer Emanuel Aloys Förster) is brought together with Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 130 and Alfred Schnittke’s String Quartet No.3 (composed in 1983). As the quartet explains, “A beam of music is split through Beethoven’s prism. The important thing to us is that these connections be experienced widely. We hope the listener will join us in the wonder of these beams of music that travel all the way from Bach through Beethoven to our own times.” Recorded in historic Reitstadel Neumarkt and produced by Manfred Eicher, the album is issued as the Danish String Quartet embarks on a tour with dates on both sides of the Atlantic, climaxing with a run of Prism concerts on the West Coast of the U.S. The Quartet plays the full Prism cycle at La Jolla Music Society over five concerts in late November.

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Danish String Quartet On Tour

 
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© 2019 ECM Records US, a Division of Verve Music Group. All Rights Reserved.
 
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 1.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - The Art Of Failing 03:01 
     
 2.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - Le Mistral 07:45 
     
 3.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - This Is Not America 05:16 
     
 4.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - Weit Weg 03:28 
     
 5.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - Streiflicht 04:34 
     
 6.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - Not Far From Here 05:28 
     
 7.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - No Game 06:10 
     
 8.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - Einschub 04:38 
     
 9.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - If I Had A Heart 02:25 
     
 10.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - Colibri 65 05:04 
     
 11.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - You Don’t Have To Win Me Over 01:42 
     
 12.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - Wrong Song 07:26 
     
 13.  Julia Hülsmann Quartet - This Is Not America 02:53 
     
 

Julia Hülsmann Quartet

Not Far From Here

 

Uli Kempendorff: tenor saxophone

Julia Hülsmann: piano

Marc Muellbauer: double bass

Heinrich Köbberling: drums

 

Release date: November 1, 2019

 

 

ECM 2664    

B0031224-02

UPC: 6025 080 6088 5                  

 

Not Far From Here introduces pianist Julia Hülsmann’s new group, in which her long-established working trio with Marc Muellbauer and Heinrich Köbberling (together now for 17 years) is expanded to a quartet with the addition of saxophonist Uli Kempendorff. In Kempendorff’s playing “both suppleness and unruliness are in ample supply” Jazzthetik has noted, and he brings a fresh energy and new perspectives to the group, while at the same time honoring the deep feeling for melody at the heart of Julia’s work. It is a development with a lengthy history. Hülsmann and Kempendorff first played together about twenty years ago – “Uli must have been around 18 at the time”, Hülsmann recalls - and have given occasional duo concerts since then. Bassist Marc Muellbauer has been a member of some of Kempendorff’s groups and played on his albums Out With It and Louise, released in 2006 and 2010. And, as musicians active on the Berlin scene, there have also been ad hoc collaborations from time to time.

“I had the growing feeling that Uli was the right player for us now,” Julia says. The four of us did a lot of rehearsing together, which was interesting in itself: the trio had never been much of a rehearsing group. We recorded and analysed the rehearsals, looked at the areas that worked best. It’s not so easy, as a player from the outside, to come into the music of this close circle of friends. But it was soon clear that Uli, by observing and listening carefully, had got the idea of the way our group functions and brought something of his own to it, in a thoughtful and sensitive way. Now, as we play concerts, there is more and more exploring, as the arrangements and material open up.”

Each member of the quartet brings in original compositions, with Julia herself contributing five pieces to the album. “Weit Weg”, “Streiflicht” and “No Game” began their life as solo piano pieces, adapted and expanded for the quartet, while title piece “Not Far From Here” was written especially for this cast of characters, adroitly integrating Kempendorff’s eloquent tenor into the Hülsmann group concept.

Drummer Heinrich Köbberling offers a pair of strikingly different pieces. The pretty “If I Had A Heart” opens almost like a Ben Webster ballad before its theme gives way to a feature for bassist Muellbauer, soloing inside the structure of the tune. “Colibri”, meanwhile, might be taken for “a characteristic drummer’s piece,” Julia suggests, “starting from the rhythmical idea, but then it goes somewhere else entirely with the swing part in the middle. We haven’t had that element on our group albums previously, though all of us have played jazz with that feeling.”

Marc Muellbauer is the author of the album’s longest pieces, “Mistral” and “Wrong Song”. “‘Mistral’’ is a very important tune for us. It’s a great example of the way in which a technical idea can evolve into something that feels very loose and open. We’ve been working on it for a long time. It was originally called ‘Thirty-Five’ because Marc is playing around with multiples of 5 and 7, but out of that rhythmic idea it developed into something where we have more freedom. We can move around inside it and it’s different every time we play it. I love that aspect.”

Uli Kempendorff’s compositional contributions are the brief “You Don’t Have To Win Me Over”, which lays out its message and departs, and the more enigmatic “Einschub”, a piece which resists swift categorization. “When he brought it to the first rehearsal, I wasn’t sure what it was. Uli has something in his writing, in his approach to harmony and melody that we – Marc, Henrich and I – don’t have. ‘Einschub’ is, I think, about the independence of the lines and of the rhythms, which become quite complex in the way they overlap toward the end.”

Julia’s musical enthusiasms have never been strictly limited to jazz sources, and previous albums have drawn on music from Kurt Weill to Kyrgyzstan folk song to pop and rock music of Seal and Radiohead. This season’s cover version is a timely interpretation of “This Is Not America”, David Bowie’s 1980s hit single (co-authored by Bowie, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays), originally written for John Schlesinger’s spy movie The Falcon and the Snowman. Hülsmann says that her motivation for playing the song was not, at least in the first instance, political. “It’s simply one of my all-time favorite songs. We’ve tried it a number of ways, with different levels of intensity. This time it begins with us all playing softly, then Uli brings in the ‘political’ dimension with the emotion and the anger building up in his solo.” The closing solo piano variation of “This Is Not America” at the end of the album seems to shift the mood of the piece from outrage to melancholy.

Not Far From Here, recorded at Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in March 2019 is issued as the Hülsmann Quartet embarks on a European tour, with concerts in Germany, France, the UK, and Belgium. Dates include ECM50 events at the London Jazz Festival and Le Flagey, Brussels. More details at www.ecmrecords.com

 

 

 
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 1.  Keith Jarrett - Part I 13:57 
     
 2.  Keith Jarrett - Part II 07:23 
     
 3.  Keith Jarrett - Part III 06:15 
     
 4.  Keith Jarrett - Part IV 04:14 
     
 5.  Keith Jarrett - Part V 04:28 
     
 6.  Keith Jarrett - Part VI 06:07 
     
 7.  Keith Jarrett - Part VII 02:20 
     
 8.  Keith Jarrett - Part VIII 08:07 
     
 9.  Keith Jarrett - Part VIX 03:26 
     
 10.  Keith Jarrett - Part X 07:43 
     
 11.  Keith Jarrett - Part XI 09:01 
     
 12.  Keith Jarrett - Part XII 03:19 
     
 13.  Keith Jarrett - Answer Me My Love 04:39 
     
 14.  Keith Jarrett - It's A Lonesome Old Town 05:42 
     
 15.  Keith Jarrett - Somewhere Over The Rainbow 06:43 
     
 

“The solo concert is like another world that has its own rules that I didn’t make up.”

-       Keith Jarrett

 

 

 

A solo concert from Keith Jarrett - recorded at Munich’s Philharmonic Hall on July 16, 2016, on the last night of a tour - finds the great improvising pianist at a peak of invention. Creating a spontaneous suite of forms in the moment with the intuitive assurance of a master builder – interspersing touches of the blues and folksong lyricism between pieces of polyrhythmic and harmonic complexity - he delivers one of his very finest performances. An attentive and appreciative audience hangs on every note, every nuance, and is rewarded with some tender encores including a magical version of “It’s A Lonesome Old Town”.

 

Jarrett’s solo concert recordings form a unique and continually evolving body of work inside his discography. To trace the line that leads from 1973’s Solo Concerts Bremen-Lausanne is to follow an extraordinary musical journey: The Köln Concert, Sun Bear Concerts - due for vinyl reissue in the coming months -, Concerts (Bregenz München), Paris Concert, Vienna Concert, La Scala, Radiance, The Carnegie Hall Concert, Testament, Rio, Creation, A Multitude of Angels, and La Fenice. Munich 2016, a document of Jarrett’s most recent European performance, is the latest highpoint along the road. The particular intensity of the Munich performance singles it out as one of Jarrett’s truly outstanding concerts. So, too, the flow of its component parts.

 

The shape of the individual concerts has been transformed, the large arc of the early concerts, with unbroken improvisations spanning an entire set, giving way to performances made up of discrete, tightly focused spontaneous compositions. Jarrett’s influence on other solo improvisers has been profound yet his sense for developing motifs and melodies and uncovering forms in real time remains unparalleled. There is, still, nothing else like a Keith Jarrett solo concert. “Through a series of brilliant solo performances and recordings that demonstrate his utterly spontaneous creativity,” the Polar Music Prize committee noted a few years ago, “Keith Jarrett has simultaneously lifted piano improvisation as an art form to new, unimaginable heights.”

 

ECM
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Julia Hülsmann Quartet - Not Far From Here
release date: November 1, 2019
Uli Kempendorff: tenor saxophone; Julia Hülsmann: piano
Marc Muellbauer: double bass; Heinrich Köbberling: drums

Not Far From Here introduces award-winning pianist Julia Hülsmann's new group in which her long-time working trio with Marc Muellbauer and Heinrich Köbberling (together now for 17 years) is expanded to a quartet with the addition of Berlin-based saxophonist Uli Kempendorff. In Kempendorff's playing "both suppleness and unruliness are in ample supply", Jazzthetik has noted, and he brings a fresh energy to the Hülsmann group concept. Each member of the quartet brings in original compositions, with Julia herself contributing five pieces for the album. Repertoire is augmented by a timely cover of "This Is Not America", David Bowie's 1980s hit single (co-composed by Bowie, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays), which appears here in a quartet version and a solo piano variation. The album was recorded at Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in March 2019.

 

Edited by GA Russell

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Keith Jarrett - Munich 2016
release date: November 1, 2019
Keith Jarrett: piano  

This solo concert from Keith Jarrett finds the great improvising pianist at a peak of invention. Creating a spontaneous suite of forms in the moment with the assurance of a master builder, he delivers one of his very finest performances.
The album was recorded in Munich, ECM's hometown, on the last night of a 2016 European tour and is released in the same year as Jarrett's equally astonishing live performance of J.S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier Book 1

Edited by GA Russell

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AVAILABLE NOW

 
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Ethan Iverson Quartet w/ Tom Harrell

Common Practice

 

Tom Harrell trumpet  |  Ethan Iverson piano
Ben Street double bass  |  Eric McPherson drums

 
75042287-6d2e-49a8-8b72-26f9aa6b814f.jpg

Louis Sclavis Quartet

Characters On A Wall

Louis Sclavis clarinet, bass clarinet  |  Benjamin Moussay piano  
Sarah Murcia double bass  |  Christophe Lavergne drums

 
 

…. AND IN PRE-ORDER

 
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Keith Jarrett

Munich 2016

Keith Jarrett piano  
 

 
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Maciej Obara Quartet

Three Crowns

Maciej Obara alto saxophone  |  Dominik Wania piano 
Ole Morten Vågan double bass  |  Gard Nilssen drums

 
8db7082b-397c-46f4-8498-6f36b348b901.jpg

Kit Downes

Dreamlife of Debris

Kit Downes piano, organ  |  Tom Challenger tenor saxophone 
Stian Westerhus guitar  |  Lucy Railton cello  |  Sebastian Rochford drums

 
2039fae2-a307-4a74-ab48-286f27149320.jpg

Julia Hülsmann

Not Far From Here

Uli Kempendorff tenor saxophone  |  Julia Hülsmann piano; 
Marc Muellbauer double bass  |  Heinrich Köbberling drums
 
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 © 2019 ECM Records US, A Division of Verve Music Group. All rights reserved.
 
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Jan Garbarek / Hilliard Ensemble - Remember me, my dear
release date: October 18, 2019
Jan Garbarek: soprano and tenor saxophones
The Hilliard Ensemble:
David James: countertenor; Rogers Covey-Crump: tenor
Steven Harrold: tenor; Gordon Jones: baritone

25 years on from the release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, comes Remember me, my dear, recorded during the final tour the group made in October 2014. The program is emblematic of the range of repertoire the Norwegian saxophonist and British vocal quartet explored together- from Pérotin, Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume le Rouge, Antoine Brumel to Komitas, Arvo Pärt and more. It could be said that the Hilliard/Garbarek combination, in concert, transcended its source materials, with early music, contemporary composition and improvisation interfused in the responsive acoustics of sacred spaces. And this final album reminds us that the unique Garbarek/Hilliard combination, and its unprecedented exploration of sound, was consistently breathtaking.

Watch a short video segment with footage from 1994 here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOtySsR846Y&feature=youtu.be

 

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 1.  Armenian Traditional / Komitas - Ov zarmanali 06:00 
     
 2.  Anonymous - Procurans odium 03:23 
     
 3.  Jan Garbarek - Allting finns 04:00 
     
 4.  Nikolai N. Kedrov - Litany 09:00 
     
 5.  Anonymous - Dostoino est 03:16 
     
 6.  Anonymous - Sanctus 07:50 
     
 7.  Arvo Pärt - Most Holy Mother Of God 04:11 
     
 8.  Anonymous - Procedentum sponsum 04:17 
     
 9.  Guillaume le Rouge - Se je fayz deuil 06:17 
     
 10.  Pérotin - Alleluia nativitas 05:09 
     
 11.  Hildegard von Bingen - O ignis spiritus 07:29 
     
 12.  Jan Garbarek - We are the stars 05:19 
     
 13.  Antoine Brumel - Agnus dei 06:10 
     
 14.  Anonymous - Remember me, my dear 05:13 
     
 

Garbarek blends with the vocal lines – sung captivatingly by the Hilliards – like a fifth voice. With restraint and the greatest of control he wanders and floats through the spaces created by the singers…The early music is not just given a modern sheen. Garbarek explores a space from the inside, but with a sound whose hymnic character and pathos cannot be denied. The music raises the question of what is old and what is new.

Peter Rüedi, Die Weltwoche

 

 

25 years on from the release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, comes a live album from their unforgettable final tour. Remember me, my dear, named for the Scottish ballad which concludes the concert, was recorded in October 2014 at Chiesa della Collegiata dei Santi Pietro e Stefano in Bellinzona, in the Ticino canton of Switzerland. The album embodies all the special attributes of this unique alliance between the Norwegian saxophonist and the British vocal ensemble.

 

The musicians were first brought together by producer Manfred Eicher and “something came into existence that was not there before”, in the words of Jan Garbarek. Officium, the debut album, was released in 1994 and the music touched a large international audience. A million copies of Officium were sold swiftly, and a thousand concerts - many in churches, abbeys and other sacred spaces - followed over a 20-year period. And there were further recordings, the double album Mnemosyne (1998) and Officium Novum (2009). The repertoire of Remember Me is drawn from all three albums and adds a new piece, “Procurans odium”, a medieval song preserved at the Bavarian monastery of Benediktbeuern. All of the music is transformed by the live context, by the subtlety of the singers, and the improvisational daring of Jan Garbarek. “He can pick up on anything, and his ears are phenomenal,” David James has said. “The slightest nuance, he’ll play into it and feed something back – it’s just so thrilling to perform with him.” Jan Garbarek, near the beginning of the association: “I’ve loved medieval music for years. The old music is very familiar to me, for it uses modes which you find in folk music and jazz. I find it completely natural to join in with it, and it has since broadened my whole perspective of playing.”

 

The range of music addressed expanded as the Officium project developed. Remember Me, My Dear begins with an Armenian traditional piece in an arrangement by Komitas. There is also contemporary music, including Arvo Pärt’s “Most Holy Mother of God”, and two Garbarek compositions: “We are the stars”, based upon Native American poetry, and “Allting finns”, a particularly beautiful setting of a poem by Swedish author Pär Lagerkvist. On the present recording it segues into the Litany of Russian composer Nikolai Kedrov, whose music spanned the 19th and 20th centuries, integrated here alongside 12th century music of Hildegard von Bingen, 13th century music of Pérotin, and more. In the playing of Garbarek and the singing of the Hilliards, time is dissolved in the resonant performance space.

 

“Hard, smooth stone surfaces and an abundance of air were the properties we sought,” wrote Jan Garbarek in a program note. When these were available, “the concerts were bliss. Flowing so easily, the sonority of the voices hovering harmoniously under every arch and vault, filling every corner of splendent space. Sax roaming freely above, below inside the vocal texture, a soaring sum of parts…” The Bellinzona concert, two months from the final show, bears out this description.

 

The retirement of the Hilliard Ensemble, after a forty-year career, also brought the Officium collaboration to an end. The last Officium performance was at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, in December 2014. The outstanding recordings remain, the Officium-Mnemosyne-Officium Novum cycle now augmented by Remember Me, My Dear.

 

The Hilliards can also be heard on a further 40 ECM titles, singing everything from Tallis and Gesualdo to Arvo Pärt and Gavin Bryars. Jan Garbarek is of course one of ECM’s primary artists, first recording for the label in 1970 with Afric Pepperbird and subsequently appearing on dozens of albums as leader, co-leader, and featured soloist with composers including Eleni Karaindrou and Giya Kancheli.

 

CD booklet, in English and German, includes a performer’s note by Gordon Jones, and liner notes by Paul Griffiths and Steve Lake.

 

 

 

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Fifty Years of Edition of Contemporary Music

 

Since 1969 ECM has treated music production as a fine art. Manfred Eicher, the head of ECM, has always followed his intuition in finding and combining musicians, kindling new ideas, sculpting sound, and breaking musical ground. The record label in Munich has long provided a unique forum for improvised and notated music. In 2019 it embodies half a century of continuous endeavour and staunch independence.

 

Few industries have undergone such fundamental change over the years as the music business. Against this background, ECM’s quiet pursuit of a self-defined goal seems increasingly like an act of resistance. For if ‘contemporary’ still means ‘of our own time’, it also means standing up for timeless values, and embracing the present while also rejecting its constraints.

 

By now, the ECM catalogue has over 1600 titles, including global successes such as Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert and The Melody At Night, With You, Pat Metheny’s Offramp, Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, and Officium with Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble. Although ECM albums have now been available on streaming services since 2017, for Manfred Eicher the CD and the LP remain the preferred media for his work. It is only the album, with its finely-calibrated musical dramaturgy, that allows the listener to complete the journey into the ‘audible landscapes’ that have made the label famous. Even today, each ECM release is conceived as a Gesamtkunstwerk – a fully integrated aesthetic experience, with music, sound design, and artwork.

 

While the historic achievements of ECM have been celebrated in major exhibitions, and Manfred Eicher has received numerous honours, such as his admission into the highly prestigious band of Honorary Fellows of the Royal Academy of Music in London, the label is not resting on its laurels. Alongside the much-acclaimed 21-CD box set (2018) with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and associated ensembles, ECM continues to give new impulses to creative music. These have recently included a spotlight on Israeli jazz musicians, with albums by trumpeter Avishai Cohen and pianists Shai Maestro and Yonathan Avishai. Remarkable releases on ECM New Series have latterly included the 3-CD box set (2017) with all of György Kurtág’s works for ensemble and choir, and Anja Lechner and Pablo Márquez’s revelatory transcriptions of Schubert for cello and guitar (Die Nacht, 2018).

The special qualities of what began as a small cultural enterprise were soon recognised. In 1972, in its first article on ECM, Der Spiegel ran a report on a twenty-nine-year-old ‘loner’ in Munich who was increasingly of interest to high-profile musicians in the United States. According to Der Spiegel, this was because ECM was now releasing the ‘best jazz recordings’ – ‘the gold standard for sound, presence and pressing’. At that point, the Munich label had only been in existence for two-and-a-half years. Manfred Eicher, born in Lindau, Germany, had studied double bass in Berlin. Having soon discovered his love for the music of artists such as Bill Evans, Paul Bley, Miles Davis and his bassist Paul Chambers, he became intensely preoccupied with jazz. As a production assistant at Deutsche Grammophon he had learnt what it was to strive for the highest standards in recordings of classical music. And he now started to record improvised music with the same precision and focus.

 

Almost as a statement of intent, the first title issued by the new label was Free at Last, by the US pianist Mal Waldron. Pioneering recordings of artists such as Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Paul Bley, Egberto Gismonti and Pat Metheny established ECM’s reputation as a label to be reckoned with. By the late 1970s names such as Meredith Monk and Steve Reich regularly appeared in the ECM catalogue, and in 1984 the company introduced its New Series, dedicated to notated music. Launched to showcase the music of Arvo Pärt with Tabula Rasa, the New Series now ranges all the way from organa composed by Pérotin in Paris in 1200 through to contemporary composition.

 

Pärt, and subsequently Giya Kancheli, Valentin Silvestrov and Tigran Mansurian, was introduced to new audiences in the West by ECM’s New Series; for many years now György Kurtág and Heinz Holliger have released important works on the Munich label. Artists such as the Hilliard Ensemble, Kim Kashkashian, Gidon Kremer, the Danish String Quartet and András Schiff have presented listeners with outstanding performances of core classical repertoire but have also introduced them to exciting new discoveries. Both series – ECM and ECM New Series – have emphasised multi-genre or transcultural projects – from recordings by the improvising trio Codona - with Don Cherry, Collin Walcott and Nana Vasconcelos - to Officium, which brought Jan Garbarek and the Hilliards together, and François Couturier’s Tarkovsky Quartet. ECM is regarded today as ‘the most important imprint in the world for jazz and new music’, to quote the British newspaper, the Independent.

 

While the form and constancy of notated music have also found their way into improvisation, inspired interpretations of existing compositions convey a tangible sense of risk, spontaneity and improvisatory freedom. The British music critic and writer Paul Griffiths aptly pinpointed the unique status of ECM, describing it as ‘almost a musical genre in its own right – a genre with blurred boundaries but a definite centre, in some place where music is prized wherever it comes from, some time when nothing has yet quite happened finally, when even a recording – seemingly the end of the process – can show its value in opening a question, or more than one.’

 

From early on the model of a literary publishing house was an inspiration for the label. Many of the musicians who recorded their debut albums with ECM in their mid-twenties have kept faith with the label ever since. As Manfred Eicher once said in an interview, ‘Our work is based on the notion of permanence.’ In addition Eicher feels that ‘it is important that relationships also develop between the company’s artists; that’s good for their creative work’. As a record producer, he is a partner in the artistic process, involved in everything from the choice of recording venue to the musical shaping of the album to the cover design for the finished product. And on the subject of cover designs: ECM record sleeves, much admired and much imitated, have made design history, and the Swiss publisher Lars Müller Verlag has devoted two books to ECM’s cover art.

 

ECM recordings are often described as having a transparent sound that is rich in overtones. But there is no one-size-fits-all ‘ECM sound’. Each recording is attuned to the sound of the players and singers, not vice versa. ‘Of course we take every possible care with the technology’, as Manfred Eicher has said, ‘But the deciding factor is always the music and the aesthetic ideas that go with it. That is what gives the sound its characteristics. The vessel is always shaped to fit its contents.’ A specific location is selected for each new project – a place with the right acoustics and atmosphere, be it in Oslo, New York, Lugano or in the South of France, be it a radio studio in Zurich or the chapel of the idyllic St. Gerold Priory in the Austrian mountains.

 

The ECM head office on the outskirts of Munich with a workforce of barely a dozen relies on a longstanding international distribution network, with major companies covering the main markets and smaller, independent firms operating in other key territories. Annual production numbers at ECM are still rising – despite this being a time when the record industry is having to cope with ongoing structural crises. Manfred Eicher takes the long view: ‘Every decade – for fifty years now – we have supposedly been faced with a “huge crisis”. The oil crisis in the early 1970s seemed to herald the death of vinyl; today there is talk of the end of physical records and CDs alike. So it is all the more crucial that we record the best artists of our time in optimal conditions, seriously and with integrity. Economic issues will be resolved somehow. Art and music are and will always be a fundamental need in society.’

The special qualities of what began as a small cultural enterprise were soon recognised. In 1972, in its first article on ECM, Der Spiegel ran a report on a twenty-nine-year-old ‘loner’ in Munich who was increasingly of interest to high-profile musicians in the United States. According to Der Spiegel, this was because ECM was now releasing the ‘best jazz recordings’ – ‘the gold standard for sound, presence and pressing’. At that point, the Munich label had only been in existence for two-and-a-half years. Manfred Eicher, born in Lindau, Germany, had studied double bass in Berlin. Having soon discovered his love for the music of artists such as Bill Evans, Paul Bley, Miles Davis and his bassist Paul Chambers, he became intensely preoccupi

Manfred Eicher’s List of Awards and Honors

 

 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jazz Gallery, New York, 2019

 

Producer Of The Year 2018

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Honorary fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music, London 2018

 

Producer Of The Year 2017

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year, 2017

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Producer Of The Year 2016

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Honorary doctorate from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in recognition of

“great contribution to Estonian music”, June 2016

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year 2015,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Producer Of The Year 2015

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Producer Of The Year 2014

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Producer Of The Year 2013

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Cultural Prize of the Bayerische Landesstiftung 2013

 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Soundtrack Cologne 2013

 

Chevalier de L‘ Ordre des arts et des Lettres 2012

French Minister of Culture

 

Producer Of The Year 2012

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Tono Award 2012

Norway

 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Down Beat, USA, 2010

 

 

Producer Of The Year 2010

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Producer Of The Year 2009

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Producer Of The Year 2008

DownBeat Critics Poll, USA

 

Federal Cross of Merit

Germany 2007

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year 2007,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Cultural Prize of the City of Munich 2005

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year 2004,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year 2003,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Grammy Award Winner

Best Classical Producer of the Year 2002,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year 2001,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

The Royal Order of Merit,

Norway 2001

 

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, 2000

University of Brighton

 

The Royal Order of the Polar Star

Sweden 1999

 

The V Class Order of the Cross of St. Mary’s Land

Estonia 1999

 

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year 1999,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Musikpreis der Landeshauptstadt München 1998

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year 1997,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Grammy Award Nomination,

Classical Producer Of The Year 1994,

National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA

 

Spezialpreis der Jury

45. Filmfestival Locarno 1992 für den Film Holozän

von Heinz Bütler und Manfred Eicher

 

Academy Award („Oscar“)

Best Foreign Language Film 1991, USA

Reise der Hoffnung by Xavier Koller

Musical direction: Manfred Eicher

 

Ehrenpreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik 1986

 

Best Producer 1980 Brian Eno / Manfred Eicher

Musician Magazine, USA

 

Best Jazz Producer 1979

High Fidelity Magazine, USA

 

Best Jazz Producer 1978

High Fidelity Magazine, USA

 

Top Producer 1977

Record World Jazz Award, USA

 

Top Producer 1976

Record World Jazz Award, USA

 

Producer Of The Year 1976

Down Beat Critics Poll, USA

ECM 50

 

On November 24th, 50  years ago,  Manfred Eicher went into a studio to make the very first ECM recording – Mal Waldron’s Free At Last.  Since then, Eicher has continued to helm the label, personally producing the majority of the now 1600+ recordings in the catalog. His steadfast vision has cemented the label’s place in history as having “helped shape the way we listen to jazz and contemporary classical music.” (Giovanni Russonello, New York Times)

 

Eicher is a hands-on producer, deeply involved in the music, as ECM artists attest in describing their experiences here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeoXLzIeUXA&feature=youtu.be

 

ECM’s anniversary has been celebrated around the world this year, and continues in the US with two major bi-coastal events presented by SF Jazz and Jazz at Lincoln Center:

October 24-27 at SF Jazz:  https://www.sfjazz.org/calendar/?month=10.2019&series=25222

November 1-2 at JALC’s Rose Theater:  https://www.jazz.org/events/t-9056/ECM-Records-at-50/

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Jan Garbarek / Hilliard Ensemble

Remember me, my dear 


Jan Garbarek soprano and tenor saxophones 

The Hilliard Ensemble
(David James 
countertenor; Rogers Covey-Crump tenor;
Steven Harrold tenor; Gordon Jones baritone)

25 years on from the release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, comes Remember me, my dear, recorded during the final tour the group made in October 2014. The program is emblematic of the range of repertoire the Norwegian saxophonist and British vocal quartet explored together– from Pérotin, Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume le Rouge, Antoine Brumel to Komitas, Arvo Pärt and more. It could be said that the Hilliard/Garbarek combination, in concert, transcended its source materials, with early music, contemporary composition and improvisation interfused in the responsive acoustics of sacred spaces. And this final album reminds us that the unique Garbarek/Hilliard combination, and its unprecedented exploration of sound, was consistently breathtaking.

LISTEN
 
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Thomas Zehetmair

Sei Solo

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo 


Thomas Zehetmair baroque violin 

Thomas Zehetmair, one of the great violinists of our time, re-visits the solo works of Bach, the summit of the violin repertory. Using period instruments, Zehetmair plays the music with vividness and intelligence to produce a recording that is deeply steeped in the music and at the same time original. The album was recorded at Propstei St. Gerold and is issued as a double CD with texts by Peter Gülke and Thomas Zehetmair.

LISTEN
 
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 © 2019 ECM Records US, A Division of Verve Music Group. All rights reserved.
 
 
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New Album:

MUNICH 2016

Keith Jarrett, piano


A solo concert from Keith Jarrett - recorded at Munich’s Philharmonie on July 16, 2016, on the last night of a European tour - finds the great improvising pianist at a peak of invention. Creating a spontaneous suite of forms in the moment with the assurance of a master builder – interspersing touches of the blues and folksong lyricism between pieces of polyrhythmic and harmonic complexity - he delivers one of his very finest performances. An attentive and appreciative audience hangs on every note, every nuance, and is rewarded with some tender encores including a magical version of “It’s A Lonesome Old Town”. 

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[ LISTEN]
 
 
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"He never imposes himself in these restrained, elegant performances. Whether or not it’s fanciful to sense an improvisatory mood, this is playing of absolute dexterity and musical fidelity, recorded in a beautifully clear, clean acoustic with the energy of live performance."
 - Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

[ LISTEN]
 
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 © *2018 ECM Records US, A Division of Verve Music Group. All rights reserved.
 
 
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ECM
Image

Mal Waldron - Free At Last
Extended Edition
Vinyl release date December 13, 2019
Mal Waldron: piano; Isla Eckinger: double bass
Clarence Becton: drums

 

Revisited and remastered, with additional takes, texts and photos, here is the very first ECM session, recorded in Ludwigsburg in November 1969, featuring the great American pianist Mal Waldron, whose resume included work with Coltrane, Mingus, Dolphy and Billie Holiday. In his original liner notes, Mal wrote: "This album represents my meeting with free jazz. Free jazz for me does not mean complete anarchy... You will hear me playing rhythmically instead of soloing on chord changes." As Jazz Journal noted, "tough, two-handed modal blues" predominates, and the music sounds as fresh now as the day it was recorded. Indeed, the tersely-grooving "Boo" and "Rock My Soul" could be club hits half a century later. The Extended Anniversary Edition of Free At Last is issued as an audiophile vinyl double album.

Check out the brief video using archival photos: https://youtu.be/w6JLiA8k780

 

 

 

 
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Mal Waldron piano | Isla Eckinger double bass | Clarence Becton drums 

Revisited and remastered, with additional takes, texts and photos, here is the very first ECM session, recorded in Ludwigsburg in November 1969, featuring the great American pianist Mal Waldron, whose resume included work with Coltrane, Mingus, Dolphy and Billie Holiday. The music sounds as fresh now as the day it was recorded. The Extended Anniversary Edition of Free At Last is issued as an audiophile vinyl double album.

ALBUM TEASER

CLICK HERE
 
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Keith Jarrett piano 

A solo concert from Keith Jarrett - recorded at Munich’s Philharmonie on July 16, 2016, on the last night of a European tour - finds the great improvising pianist at a peak of invention. Creating a spontaneous suite of forms in the moment with the assurance of a master he delivers one of his very finest performances.

ALBUM TEASER

CLICK HERE
 
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Kit Downes piano, organ | Tom Challenger tenor saxophone
Stian Westerhus guitar | Lucy Railton cello
Sebastian Rochford drums

Dreamlife of Debris carries forward the story begun on Kit Downes’s Obsidian, extending and developing its processes and core ideas. But where Obsidian was (almost exclusively) a solo church organ album, part of Kit’s plan for Dreamlife was to put the organ in a broader context, and also to bring the piano into the larger compositional picture.

ALBUM TEASER

CLICK HERE
 

More 2019 Releases Available on Vinyl

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EXPLORE ECM’S DEEP VINYL CATALOG HERE
Edited by GA Russell

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Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow - Life Goes On
release date February 14, 2020
Carla Bley: piano
Andy Sheppard: tenor and soprano saxophones
Steve Swallow: bass

A striking album of new music from pianist/composer Carla Bley, whose trio with Andy Sheppard and Steve Swallow is now in its 25th year. Individual associations among the players go back much further: bassist Swallow first recorded music by Carla in 1961. So when Bley says "Life Goes On", a lot of life is alluded to. The album, realized in the Auditorio Stelio Molo Studio in Lugano in May 2019, with Manfred Eicher producing, takes the form of three suites. The title piece begins as a stoical blues, at first melancholic then hopeful. "Beautiful Telephones", inspired by a US president's first observation on entering the Oval Office, has plenty of Bley's dark wit. And "Copycat" explores the notion of call-and-response in fresh ways as the improvisers continue each other's thoughts. Throughout, Carla's distinctive piano, with its hints of Monk and Satie, is beautifully framed by Swallow's eloquent, elegant bass guitar and Sheppard's yearning saxes. This trio has a unique collective sound, reflecting - as The Telegraph recently noted - "musical mastery of a rare order".

ECM

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Oded Tzur - Here Be Dragons
release date February 14, 2020
Oded Tzur: tenor saxophone; Nitai Hershkovits: piano;
Petros Klampanis: double bass; Johnathan Blake: drums

Here Be Dragons is the ECM debut of New York based, Tel Aviv born saxophonist Oded Tzur, a strikingly original player and musical storyteller. Tzur's graceful and fluid tenor sax sound has been influenced by studies with bansuri master Hariprasad Chaurasia, and the concept of raga is subtly embedded in his elegant compositions, played with verve and imagination by his outstanding Israeli-Greek-American jazz group. As DownBeat has observed: "Tzur and his colleagues are definitely on to something." Recorded in June 2019 at Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano, and produced by Manfred Eicher, the album is issued as Tzur embarks on an international tour.

 
 
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Thomas Zehetmair: baroque violin

Thomas Zehetmair, one of the great violinists of our time, re-visits the solo works of Bach, the summit of the violin repertory. Using period instruments, Zehetmair plays the music with vividness and intelligence to produce a recording that is deeply steeped in the music and at the same time original.
 
“Violinists will sometimes delay recording Johann Sebastian Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin until they feel they have mastered the music and even let it become second nature to them. Not so Thomas Zehetmair, who, with guidance from his mentor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, first recorded the Sei Solo in 1982 for Teldec, then waited almost four decades before revisiting them for ECM New Series. This time span has permitted Zehetmair sufficient space to reevaluate Bach's masterpiece and to present the music with a mature appreciation of its contrapuntal intricacy and expressive depth. Zehetmair played a modern violin for his early set, but for this 2019 double-disc, he plays two Baroque violins with replica bows: a 1685 South Tyrolean instrument for the partitas, and a ca. 1750 Joannes Udalricus Eberle for the sonatas. The sonorities he produces on these violins are subtly different, the 1685 contributing a bright edge to the partitas and the 1750 a warm resonance to the sonatas, all smoothed somewhat by the resonant acoustics of the priory church of St. Gerold in Austria. Zehetmair uses the sound space to determine dynamics and to shape his phrases, and his lines seem to float with an airiness that is rare in studio recordings. Even though the use of Baroque instruments and techniques may make this rendition seem like a historically informed performance, it is rather more of a personal take with thoughtful borrowings from period scholarship, a combination to be expected of one of classical music's most eclectic and versatile performers.” - Blair Sanderson, allmusic December 2019

 
[ CLICK TO LISTEN / ]
 
 
 
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Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow

Life Goes On

 

Carla Bley: piano

Andy Sheppard: tenor and soprano saxophones

Steve Swallow: bass

 

Release date: February 14, 2020 

 

ECM 2669      

B0031608-02 

CD UPC: 6025 083 2063 7                           

LP UPC: 6025 085 4826 0

 

 

Bley’s writing captures strong moods with sturdy structures, sparse lines and clear voicings, and when she improvises, she eschews virtuosity, cuts out excess and gets to core essentials. Much turns on the placing of a single note, while simple lines deliver complex emotions with a sardonic twist.

      Mike Hobart, Financial Times, October 2019

 

 

The third volume of a sequence of albums begun with Trios in 2013 and continued with Andando El Tiempo (2016), Life Goes On – once more recorded in Lugano and produced by Manfred Eicher - features striking new music from American pianist/composer Carla Bley, whose trio with saxophonist Andy Sheppard and bassist Swallow has a long history. (Their first recording in trio format was Songs with Legs, recorded for the ECM-distributed WATT label in 1994.) Bley has composed for ensembles of every size but, over time, the trio has established itself as an ideal unit for expressing the essence of her work. Throughout Life Goes On, Carla’s terse, distinctive piano, shaping phrases irreducible as Monk or Satie, is beautifully framed by Swallow’s eloquent, elegant bass guitar and Sheppard’s yearning saxes. This trio has a unique collective sound, reflecting – as The Telegraph recently noted – “musical mastery of a rare order”.

 

“We’ve learned to breathe together when we play,” Carla told the Charleston City Paper recently. “I hear our voices in my mind’s ear as I compose for us. I especially relish the conversational flow the trio format allows. We’re essentially a chamber music ensemble, and this allows me to write music for us free of bombast and exaggeration. Music stripped down to its basic elements. This format also demands that, as players, we improvise in the character of each particular song, which is both a challenge and, on a good night, a great satisfaction. “

 

The new compositions featured here, all penned by Bley, take the form of three suites, each of which was widely previewed and fine-tuned by the group at concert and festival appearances in the US and Europe prior to the May 2019 recording session at Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in Lugano. “This is music we’ve been preparing for the last three years,” Carla Bley told DownBeat, when the trio played the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, as part of ECM’s 50th anniversary celebrations. “The reason we’re touring is to be able to practice it every night and get it right, because it’s finally going to get put down. It’ll always be the same once it’s recorded.” If this seems unlikely, given the improvisational capacity of the participants, the recording does have a definitive air about it.

 

The stoical sound of the 12-bar blues - resolute and ready for anything - opens Life Goes On. The album’s title piece was written as Carla Bley was recuperating from illness, alluded to in characteristically droll liner notes – in verse this time. “The whole suite has a more optimistic feel than the melancholic, wistful Andando El Tiempo,” suggested Jazz Views writer Jack Kenny, reviewing the group in London. “The middle parts, ‘On’ and ‚ And On‘, are written with wit and humour. The last part, ‘And Then One Day’, moves from tango into a more settled rhythm. This is a great addition to the Bley library, bright and optimistic.” Sheppard offers robust tenor in the first three movements, switching to lightly floating soprano for the fourth and sharing lead instrumental duties with Swallow, who has shaped a personal, highly lyrical approach to the electric bass.

 

“Beautiful Telephones”, perhaps the first jazz composition inspired by a quote from the White House’s current occupant, has been described by JazzTimes as “Bley at her sardonic best…Introduced as a duo with Swallow, the solemn and cinematic theme wended through several elegiac moods punctured by a series of quotes, including ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‚’Yankee Doodle.’” Carla has summed it up as “a piece where things get excited and then impatient and then excited again and then change. Nothing stays the same because, with the attention span of the President, we have to quickly change the music, too.”

 

The third suite, “Copycat”, explores the notion of call-and-response in fresh ways as the improvisers continue each other’s thoughts, putting a slightly surreal spin on the imitation games that are part of jazz interaction, as phrases are passed around among the players for commentary and elaboration.

Further recordings with Carla Bley are in preparation.

 

 

Press Reactions to Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow on ECM

 

Trios

 

“Surely the trio’s empathy and depth of expression has never been better captured. With Bley’s beautifully clear-minded compositions and undimmed pianism, Swallow’s effortless shifts from accompanist to melodist, and Sheppard’s saxophone as communicative as a human voice, this is flawless music.”

Steve Harris, Hi-Fi News

 

“Giving herself fully to the direction of producer Manfred Eicher for – somewhat unbelievably – her ECM debut as a leader, Bley repurposes some works for trio, while others are heard in unusual context. Regardless of the approach, the result allows light to illuminate unfamiliar curves and crevices in these well-worn pieces.”

James Hale, Downbeat

 

“Carla Bley’s reputation as an important composer and arranger is based on her work with larger ensembles. Trios is a glimpse into her aesthetic world stripped to its barest essentials.

Three players dance together, their feet never touching the ground.”

Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes

 

 

Andando el Tiempo

 

“Her coolly ravishing album, ‘Andando el Tiempo’ (‘In the Course of Time’) […] features a handful of inventions for her long-time trio with Mr. Swallow and the saxophonist Andy Sheppard. Chamberlike and willowy, suffused with melancholy, it reflects her sly noncompliance with jazz and classical conventions, which has been a prevalent theme of her half-century career.”

Nate Chinen, The New York Times

 

“As ever, Bley’s sense of melodic line and thematic structure drives the music, whether through the Spanish-tinged narrative of the title suite or the witty allusions of the Mendelssohnesque wedding tune. And she more than fulfils her improvisational duties, emphasizing her often-underused gifts as a pianist. Indeed, her playing is so strong that there are times when the music feels not so much charted as collectively improvised.

J.D. Considine, Downbeat (Five stars)

 

“At 80 years old, Carla Bley remains a vital force as a pianist, composer, and improviser, mixing knowingly wry moments with a sense of mystery.“

Seth Colter Walls, pitchfork

 

Oded Tzur

Here Be Dragons

 

Oded Tzur: tenor saxophone

Nitai Hershkovits: piano

Petros Klampanis: double bass

Johnathan Blake: drums

 

Release date: February 14, 2020

 

ECM 2676    

B0031611-02           

CD UPC: 6025 083 5998 9                                   

LP UPC: 6025 084 7426 2

 

Oded Tzur will perform two sets with this quartet in NYC on February 12th at Jazz Standard.

 

Here Be Dragons is the ECM debut of New York based, Tel Aviv born tenor saxophonist Oded Tzur, one of the most strikingly original musicians to have emerged from Israeli’s creative jazz scene in recent years, and the leader of an outstanding group.

 

Oded Tzur has found a new and personal sound for the tenor saxophone. Inspired by his extensive studies from 2007 onward with bansuri master Hariprasad Chaurasia, he has mastered the graceful slides of Indian classical music and brought raga’s sense of pitch fluidity and microtonal shading into a jazz context. His pieces elegantly explore and unfold their melodic and atmospheric implications in a context of subtle group interaction. Structurally, each of Tzur’s compositions on Here Be Dragons sets out to develop a “miniature raga” over a moving bass, juxtaposing two musical concepts. Oded: “The dialogue between these dimensions takes us wherever it takes us.” The ragas deployed in the pieces “Here Be Dragons”, “20 Years” and “The Dream” are of Oded’s creation, while “To Hold Your Hand” uses an Indian scale called Charukesi and operates on similar principles. He stresses, however, that “raga is, for me, a universal concept. I hear its connection to synagogue prayers, or to the blues – a marvellous creation – and to music all around the world.” Ancient and modern traditions are referenced in Oded’s work, including traditions of storytelling. “If music has the ability to tell stories,” suggested All About Jazz, “saxophonist Oded Tzur proves himself one of the jazz world’s premier storytellers.” Tzur’s concept is also broad enough to embrace some unexpected song choices, and the album concludes with a tender interpretation of “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, made famous by Elvis Presley.

 

Musical interaction inside the group is profound, and the quartet has already received the highest press accolades. “The interplay transcends empathy,” said DownBeat, while Japan’s CD Journal spoke of “a Coltrane Quartet for the 21st century.” Oded’s international group features fellow Israeli Nitai Hershkovits on piano, Greek bassist Petros Klampanis and US drummer Johnathan Blake. Hershkovits, who took over the piano role in Tzur’s group from Shai Maestro, first came to wider attention as a member of bassist Avishai Cohen’s groups. Bassist Petros Klampanis has been a mainstay of Oded’s band since the saxophonist relocated to New York in 2011; albums under his name include work with pianist Kristjan Randalu. Johnathan Blake, newest member of the ensemble, is from a distinguished musical family. His father, John Blake, played violin with McCoy Tyner, among many others. Johnathan has worked a broad range of contexts, playing regularly with musicians from Kenny Barron to Pharoah Sanders, and recently premiered his own trio project with Chris Potter and Linda Oh.

 

Here Be Dragons was recorded at the studio Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano, in June 2019, and produced by Manfred Eicher. It is issued as Oded Tzur embarks on an international tour with dates in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary and Israel.

 

Concert dates include:

 

February 14              Rotterdam                  Lantaren Venster

February 15              Paris                           Café de la Danse

February 16              Berlin                         A-Trane

February 17              Krefeld                       Krefeld Theatre

February 19              Tilburg                        Paradox

February 20              Amsterdam                Bimhuis

February 22              Eilat                            Red Sea Jazz Festival

February 23              Ostend                       Kaap Vrijstaat

February 25              Budapest                   Opus Jazz Club

February 26              Elmau                        Schloss Elmau

February 28              Neuburg                    Birdland

February 29              Lausanne                  Chorus

March 1                      Freiburg                     Jazz Haus

 

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