GA Russell

ECM Press Releases for New Items

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ECM-2504s

Louis Sclavis clarinets | Dominique Pifarély violin | Vincent Courtois violoncello

Asian Fields Variations marks the first time that clarinettist Louis Sclavis, violinist Dominique Pifarély and cellist Vincent Courtois have recorded as a trio. Sclavis summoned the project into existence, but this is a democratic group of creative equals: “I proposed that we make a real collective, and each of us composes for the program.” For a ‘new’ group, it has a lot of pre-history: Sclavis and Pifarély have played together in diverse contexts for 35 years, Sclavis and Courtois for 20 years, but they retain the capacity to surprise each other as improvisers. “We’re drawing also on a lot of different playing experiences, and we’re continually bringing new things to the project. We keep going deeper.”

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Titoks

Ferenc Snétberger guitar | Anders Jormin double bass | Joey Baron drums

Hungarian guitarist Ferenc Snétberger made a lot of new friends with his ECM solo debut In Concert (“a beautiful, assured performance” – All About Jazz) and will make many more with Titok, which features his trio with Swedish bassist Anders Jormin and US drummer Joey Baron. It’s a warm and involving album, with an emphasis on intensely melodic improvisation and interaction which draws the listener gently into its sound-world. The rapport between Snétberger and Jormin is evident from the outset, as both guitar and bass explore the contours of Ferenc’s compositions. Throughout, Joey Baron’s drums and cymbals provide shading and texture with restraint and subtlety.

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Quercussm

June Tabor voice | Iain Ballamy tenor & soprano saxophones | Huw Warren piano

Folk and jazz and chamber music become one in Quercus’s world, where recontextualizing of material is part of the process, prompting listeners to pay heightened attention even to familiar songs. Nightfall opens with the most famous of farewells “Auld Lang Syne”, and gently breathes new life into it, leading us into a program that includes Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice”, the jazz standard “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and the West Side Story ballad “Somewhere”, as well as original compositions by Huw Warren and Iain Ballamy and songs from British folk tradition, in stark and moving new arrangements.

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For the second ECM album by Aaron Parks – following the solo releaseAborescence, which JazzTimes praised as “expansive, impressionistic… like a vision quest” – the prize-winning pianist has convened a cross-generational trio featuring bassist Ben Street and drummer Billy Hart. The rhythm pair, which also teams in Hart’s hit quartet for ECM, blends fluidity and strength – what Parks calls “an oceanic” quality, producing waves of energy for the pianist to alternately ride and dive into. Find the Way has the aura of a piano-trio recording in the classic mold, from melody-rich opener “Adrift” to the closing title track, a cover of a romantic tune Parks grew to love on an LP by Rosemary Clooney and Nelson Riddle. Always concerned with balancing the masculine and feminine impulses in music, Parks also drew inspiration for this album from the likes of Alice Coltrane and Shirley Horn (for whom Hart played); space and subtlety are a priority, with the pianist aiming to allow “the music to breathe and be.”

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Aaron Parks

Find the Way

 

Aaron Parks: piano

Ben Street: double-bass

Billy Hart: drums

U.S. Release date: June 2, 2017

ECM 2489                 

B0026548-02

UPC:  6025 478 1841 6

 

Aaron Parks / Ben Street / Billy Hart in concert

June 16th at Smalls in NYC

 

On his second ECM album– following the solo release Arborescence, which JazzTimes praised as “expansive, impressionistic… like a vision quest” – pianist Aaron Parks leads a cross-generational trio featuring Ben Street and Billy Hart. The bassist and drummer blend fluidity and strength and what Parks calls “an oceanic” quality, producing waves of energy for the pianist to alternately ride and dive into. Find the Way has the aura of a piano-trio recording in the classic mold, from melody-rich opener “Adrift” to the closing title track, a cover of a romantic tune Parks grew to love on an LP by Rosemary Clooney and Nelson Riddle. Parks also drew inspiration for this album from the likes of Alice Coltrane and Shirley Horn (for whom Hart played); space and subtlety are a priority, with the pianist aiming to allow “the music to breathe.”

 

Parks recorded Find the Way with Street and Hart at the La Buissonne studio in the South of France, the trio working closely with producer Manfred Eicher. The pianist had previously played with Street in guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel’s band, and Parks was a longtime admirer of Hart, “from his days backing Shirley Horn to when he played with Herbie Hancock’s funky Mwandishi group to the Quest band with Dave Liebman to the Billy Hart Quartet on ECM, with Ethan Iverson, Mark Turner and Ben. I listened a lot to that quartet, really digging how he interacted with Ben

 

“Ben and Billy have such a clear sense of where the ‘center’ is that they don’t even need to play it, just allude to it. But their playing has a centrifugal force – it’s like a whirlpool. Billy, in particular, has this special authority when he plays, this vital presence – and it makes you rise to the level of that engagement. He also has this subtle, poetic quality from his time playing with singers. He really is a poet of the drums.”

 

The trio plays the music of Find the Way with special elasticity, a push and pull between high lyricism and kinetic energy. Parks is particularly pleased with “Melquíades” (named for a character in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude). “That piece has a classic ECM feel to me,” Parks says, “and Billy just breathes the music, with its constantly shifting time signature.” Parks conceived “Hold Music” as a miniature drum concerto especially for Hart but the pianist sprung “Unravel” on the drummer in the studio. “Ben and I had played the song before  - it has this complicated 13/8 time signature, and even though Billy had never seen it on the page, he just started reacting when Ben and I started playing it – doing so with such individual color and vibrancy.” 

 

Another highlight is “Alice,” which Parks initially patterned along the lines of an Alice Coltrane number like “Ptah the El Daoud.” He says: “It was a swinging tune with a cross rhythm in the piano figure, but it ended up opening out once we got through the melody, becoming something a bit more mysterious.” A key influence throughout Find the Way is vocalist Shirley Horn, who was also a distinctive pianist. “Shirley, when she took her solos, would leave notes hanging in the air, teasing with duration,” Parks says. “There was a sense with her piano playing of not needing to prove anything, but of a desire to let the music breathe. I think I’ve become more patient as my own playing has evolved, with my touch more resonant. I don’t feel as much of a need to grab the lead, to fill space. I feel free to let a note ring out and hang in the air, to hear what the sound does as it decays, to allow the pedal to work its magic.”

 

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Aaron Parks was born in California in 1983 and raised in Seattle. By age 15, he was already attending the University of Washington with a triple-major in math, computer science and music; three years later, he was the champion Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association. Parks has recorded in the quartet collective James Farm with saxophonist Joshua Redman, as well as contributed to albums by trumpeters Terence Blanchard, Ambrose Akinmusire, Christian Scott and Philip Dizack  guitarists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mike Moreno, vocalist Gretchen Parlato and drummer Kendrick Scott, among others. For ECM, the pianist appeared on South Korean singer Yeahwon Shin’s label debut, Lua Ya.

The Guardian pointed out that the pianist’s “melodic sense is acute and original, his narratives and harmonies varied, and his pacing subtle,” adding that “Arborescence has a low-lights feel, but its musicality and lyricism glow brightly.”

ECM

 

 

 

Ferenc Snétberger

Titok

 

Ferenc Snétberger: guitar

Anders Jormin: double bass

Joey Baron: drums

 

U.S. Release date: June 2, 2017

ECM 2468

B0026549-02

UPC: 6025 574 0670 2 

 

                                                                                            

Hungarian guitarist Ferenc Snétberger leads a trio with Swedish bassist Anders Jormin and US drummer Joey Baron in this warm and involving recording, produced by Manfred Eicher in Oslo, and intensely melodic improvisation draws the listener gently into its sound-world. The gracefully flowing guitar (Snétberger has a way of making even complex phrases seem effortless), the enveloping rhythmic undertow, and the highly creative playing from all participants captivate throughout Titok. There is soloistic brilliance here and high-level interplay, and the music takes the time it needs to unfold, breathing very naturally. The compound sound of the trio, with Ferenc’s acoustic nylon-string guitar partnered by bass and drums, is special. Joey Baron shades and colors the music with great subtlety using brushes, sticks and hands, and the rapport between Snétberger and Jormin is evident from the outset, as both guitar and bass explore the contours of Ferenc’s compositions. “The dialogue here between classical guitar and Anders’s way of playing the bass seems to me unique,” observes Ferenc Snétberger. “Anders has a special ‘voicing’, a special way of entering into my music. And, together, he and Joey offer inspirations which are mirrored in my playing. Manfred’s participation was also inspiring – without his ideas, and his choice of pieces and the sequencing of them, the album could not have existed in this form.”

 

The producer recommended Jormin and Baron for this project and the trio came together to play three concerts in Hungary before the session at Rainbow Studios, where spontaneity was the watchword. The album is framed by music freely created in the moment: the opening piece “Cou Cou”, the title track “Titok” and the three concluding pieces “Clown”, “Rush” and “Inference” are all improvised discoveries. The sense of searching and finding in the opening moments gives way to the clearly etched melody of “Kék Kerék”, a rather beautiful older melody of Ferenc’s. “Rambling” is the first of several pieces written for this trio, the writing leaving space for bass and drums to add their statements. The tenderly phrased “Fairytale” likewise invites Jormin to add countermelodies in the deep end. “Leolo”, dedicated to Ferenc and Angela Snétberger’s grandson Leo, begins with nursery rhyme melodic simplicity and develops into elegant chamber music, including a fine section with Jormin’s arco bass…

 

Ferenc Snétberger’s thoroughly distinctive guitar style has been gradually shaped through the absorption and transformation of many influences. Born in 1957 into a very musical family, Ferenc had classical guitar lessons from age 13, and studied jazz guitar in Budapest. Based in Berlin from 1988, he began to harmonize the full range of his guitaristic interests, from Django Reinhardt and Roma music to Brazilian and other Latin American musics via US jazz and European classical tradition – from the baroque to contemporary composition. “Alom” on the present disc is an adaptation of an old theme referencing Roma music, while “Orange Tango” and “Renaissance” acknowledge their inspirational sources in their titles. Yet none of these pieces sounds “eclectic”, the diverse sources are integrated organically inside Snétberger’s music, and accessed readily through the guitar. (Throughout Titok, Ferenc plays a guitar hand-built to his specifications by the late German luthier Tom Launhardt.)

 

Titok is the second ECM album by Ferenc Snétberger. It follows the critically-acclaimed In Concert, recorded at Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy of Music (“A beautiful, assured performance” – All About Jazz).

 

Anders Jormin and Joey Baron have appeared on many ECM records, but Titok marks the first time they have played together on a session for the label (they have periodically crossed paths in live contexts – playing for instance in trio with the late John Taylor). Jormin has made several albums as a leader for ECM, most recently Trees of Light, with singer and fiddler Lena Willemark and koto player Karin Nakagawa. His other discs include Xieyi, In winds, in light, and Ad Lucem. A long-time member of the Bobo Stenson Trio, he also appears on albums with Don Cherry, Charles Lloyd, Tomasz Stanko, Sinikka Langeland and others.

 

Joey Baron has been John Abercrombie’s drummer of choice for two decades and appears on the Abercrombie Quartet’s newest release Up and Coming. Baron is also currently a member of the trios of Jakob Bro (album: Streams) and Gary Peacock (albums: Now This and the forthcoming Tangents, due this autumn).

 

Plans for further Snétberger concerts with Jormin and Baron are currently being worked on. Meanwhile, Ferenc also fronts an admirable trio with British bassist Phil Donkin and New York-based Hungarian drummer Ferenc Németh, which recently brought some of the Titok repertoire to Europe’s clubs and concert halls. In October 2017 Ferenc Snétberger will tour in trio with Anders Jormin and Ferenc Németh.

 

 


 

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Stephan Micus - Inland Sea

release date July 14, 2017

 

Stephan Micus: balanzikom, nyckelharpa, chord and bass zithers, shakuhachi, voice, steel string guitar, genbri  

 

Inland Sea is Stephan Micus's 22nd solo album for ECM, each one taking his audience on musical journeys to far-flung places and unique sound worlds. For decades, he has been travelling, collecting and studying musical instruments from all over the world and creating new music for them. Micus often combines instruments from different cultures and continents that would never normally be played together, adapting and extending them, and rarely playing them in a traditional manner. The instruments then become a cast of characters that help tell the particular story of that album. While he plays nine different instruments on Inland Sea, the lead role belongs to the nyckelharpa - a keyed fiddle from Sweden, with an array of other instruments and vocals providing layers and textures throughout.

 

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G.Kurtag MIMI4
 
MINI-GYORGY

Natalia Zagorinskaya soprano; Gerrie de Vries mezzo-soprano; Yves Saelenstenor; Harry van der Kamp bass; Jean-Guiten Queyras violoncello; Elliott Simpson: guitar; Tamara Stefanovich piano; Csaba Király pianino, spoken word; 
Asko/Schoenberg Ensemble / Netherlands Radio Choir 
Reinbert de Leeuw conductor

This 3-CD set is a milestone in the documentation of Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s work and also a labor of love. It brings together all of Kurtág’s works for ensemble and for ensemble and choir, presented in chronological order of composition (1959 -2011). The insightful and precise performances bear witness to extensive preparation by the dedicated Asko/Schoenberg Ensemble. Conductor Reinbert de Leeuw speaks of “learning Kurtág’s oeuvre step by step, and performing these pieces repeatedly over a period of twenty years.”, and he consulted extensively with György and Márta Kurtág before and after each session. The extensive CD booklet includes all song texts with translations, an interview with Reinbert de Leeuw, liner notes by Wolfgang Sandner and Paul Griffith, and a statement by György Kurtág.

GYO amaz
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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

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CUT VIDEO6
 
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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

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Stephan Micus

Inland Sea

 

Stephan Micus: nyckelharpa, voice, shakuhachi, balanzikom, genbri, guitars, zithers

 

U.S. Release date: July 14, 2017

 

ECM 2569                

B0026947-02           

UPC: 6025 575 6547 8

 

 

There are inland seas like the Caspian or Lake Baikal which are vast lakes with their own microclimates in the Eurasian steppe. Several of Stephan Micus’ instruments come from these regions and beyond. But for Micus, the Inland Sea is also something within - a state of mind and a very personal landscape.

 

This is Stephan Micus’ 22nd solo album for ECM. He’s a musician like no other, taking his audience on musical journeys to far-flung places and sound worlds that are totally unique. Micus is the master of his own musical landscapes, a one-man universe of sound. For the past 48 years he has been travelling, collecting and studying musical instruments from all over the world and creating new music for them. He often combines instruments from different cultures and continents that would never normally be played together. In each album he focuses on a particular cast of characters, his instruments, and creates his musical journeys with them.

 

At the heart of this album is the nyckelharpa - a keyed fiddle which is the Swedish national instrument. David Harrington of Kronos Quartet describes it as a ‘dinosaur’, partly because it is so extraordinary looking, but also because it has strange archaic elements like sympathetic strings underneath the four playing strings. The strings are stopped by a set of wooden keys, so it’s an impressive piece of engineering as well as craftsmanship.

 

“With most instruments I spend years studying how to play them and then try to forget everything I’ve learned,” says Micus. “I look at it as if it just arrived from Mars, without any preconceptions. Then I experiment and try to find all the possibilities inherent in the instrument and try going to the borders of what it can do”.

This is the first time Stephan Micus has used the nyckelharpa. As with most of his instruments, he’s customized the instrument to suit his particular ideas and needs. Traditionally, the nyckelharpa is predominantly used for polkas and other dance tunes so it has a short bow, more suited to rhythmic music. Micus uses a much longer bow enabling him to play more sustained notes.

 

Micus never even attempted to play the nyckelharpa in the conventional manner, slung round the neck like a guitar. Instead he plays it like a cello, holding it upright between his legs. This is closer to the other bowed instruments he plays, the Indian dilruba and the sattar from Xinjiang in China.

 

“Until now I’ve only played bowed instruments from Asia,” Micus explains, “and I like the nyckelharpa because it carries a European spirit which I was keen to bring into the music.”

 

So the opening track, Haze, sounds almost Baroque with its clean textures, plangent string counterpoint and curling ornamentations. Accompaniment comes from the plucked strings of a balanzikom, a rare instrument which Micus brought back from the Wakhan valley on the borders of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. “It’s one of the most enchanting places I’ve seen in my life with mountains of over 7000 metres on each side of the river - which is the border - and small villages on either side. They use the balanzikom for Sufi ceremonies, but I heard it being played only briefly by a farmer.” As with the nyckelharpa, Micus is using the balanzikom for the first time.

 

Sowing Wind introduces the second melodic instrument on the album, the Japanese shakuhachi flute, a favorite of Stephan Micus. He started to learn it 43 years ago when he visited Japan for the first time. Its richly textured, breathy sound has a soulful profundity. It features on three of the tracks of Inland Sea and seems to offer a voice of spiritual wisdom.

 

The third melodic voice is that of Stephan Micus himself singing in an invented language. In Flor del Sur he’s singing over the robust plucking of the balanzikom. “When I bought it,” Micus explains, “it had very cheap nylon strings and I thought I’d replace them with high-quality nylon or gut strings so it would sound even better. But actually it then lost the character that was attracting me. I investigated all the fishing shops I could find and tried different types of fishing line. In the end I learned that the Japanese made the best-sounding fishing nylon. It’s interesting how it’s not always the best quality things that produce a desired result. Sometimes something much cruder has exactly the quality you’re looking for. The balanzikom has a special sound no other instrument has”.

 

The emotional center of the album is probably Virgen de la Mar - the goddess, perhaps, of that inland sea. As well as playing instruments from around the world, Micus has studied polyphonic singing in Georgia and Bulgaria - both of which inform this track which seems like a hymn full of unusual and surprising harmonies.

 

Accompanying the melodic voices on this album is the sound of plucked strings - the balanzikom, the Moroccan genbri, associated with Gnawa musicians and which Micus used for the first time on his last album Nomad Songs. There are also guitars, a chord zither and a vast bass zither with strings 1.7 meters long. The latter two designed by Micus himself.

 

“As on the bandoneon, the keys of the nyckelharpa are quite noisy, which for some people might be irritating. But I tried to make a vice into a virtue and used this ‘noise’ to make separate percussive tracks which are integral to the sound of Dancing Clouds and Nuria. Actually on the whole album no percussion instruments were used. Just different sounds coming from the nyckelharpa”.

 

So over 10 compositions, the nyckelharpa is bowed, plucked, struck and stroked, multitracked and misused in many glorious ways. Rarely has it been played so high or so low or had its sympathetic strings strummed like a sitar as at the beginning of Dancing Clouds, where it also becomes a throbbing percussive orchestra behind the plucked and bowed strings.

 

In the foot tapping finale, Nuria, the nyckelharpa becomes a deliciously irregular rhythm section behind Micus’ shakuhachi and voice to create a satisfying apotheosis.

 

“When I play,” says Micus, “I am listening to the instrument and telling the stories it has inside it. It’s like a human being and each of us has unique stories to tell. Similarly, if I try a tune I composed for one shakuhachi on another one it somehow doesn’t sound right. The melody was really made for, and with, that particular instrument. A composer is like a guide taking you on a walk. He will take you from where you are, lead you into unknown territory and bring you back.”

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G.Kurtag MIMI5
 
G.Kurtag QUOTE MIMI2
MINI-GYORGY

Natalia Zagorinskaya soprano; Gerrie de Vries mezzo-soprano; Yves Saelenstenor; Harry van der Kamp bass; Jean-Guiten Queyras violoncello; Elliott Simpson: guitar; Tamara Stefanovich piano; Csaba Király pianino, spoken word; 
Asko/Schoenberg Ensemble / Netherlands Radio Choir 
Reinbert de Leeuw conductor

This 3-CD set is a milestone in the documentation of Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s work and also a labor of love. It brings together all of Kurtág’s works for ensemble and for ensemble and choir, presented in chronological order of composition (1959 -2011). The extensive CD booklet includes all song texts with translations, an interview with Reinbert de Leeuw, liner notes by Wolfgang Sandner and Paul Griffith, and a statement by György Kurtág. [learn more]

AMAZ KURTAG
ITUN KURTAG
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1498227168
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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

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Tim Berne's Snakeoil - Incidentals

Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Oscar Noriega: clarinet, bass clarinet;

Ryan Ferreira:  guitars;  Matt Mitchell: piano;  Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone,  percussion, timpani.  With David Torn: guitar

  

Tim Berne has been described as "a saxophonist and composer of granite conviction" by The New York Times. Incidentals is the fourth album from his  spirited Snakeoil band and the second (following on from 2015's You've Been Watching Me) to feature the quintet line-up in which his core group with clarinetist Oscar Noriega, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer/vibraphonist Ches Smith is augmented by guitarist Ryan Ferreira. The music is characteristically action-packed in the Berne tradition: powerful, dynamic, often fast-moving - yet also very clear in all its teeming detail. "We somehow achieved more sonic space by adding another player," the bandleader notes wonderingly. It's an impression maintained even when producer David Torn takes up his own guitar in a cameo at the climax of the modestly-titled  "Sideshow"(in reality a 26-minute epic journey), soloing amid thunderous timpani and over serpentine melody outlined by sax and clarinet.  Incidentals is issued as Snakeoil gear up for a USA tour through September and October, followed by European dates in November. 

US tour dates:

Aug 6 -    Newport, RI @ Newport Jazz Festival

Sept 13 - New York, NY @ Jazz Standard

Sept 14 - Newburgh, NY @ Queen of the Hudson

Sept 15 - Baltimore, MD @ An Die Music Live!

Sept 16 - Chicago, IL @ Constellation

Sept 17 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bluewhale

Sept 18 - Reno, NV @ University of Nevada Reno Campus (Workshop)

Sept 19 - Reno, NV @ Laughing Planet

Sept 20 - Portland, OR @ Fremont Theatre

Sept 21 - Seattle, WA @ The Royal Room (workshop @ Cornish in afternoon)

Sept 22 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Nash

Sept 23 - San Francisco, CA @ SFJazz, JHL

Sept 29 - New Orleans, LA @ The Old U.S Mint (w/ Local Musicians)

Sept 30 - Pittsburgh, PA @ City of Asylum (Trio w/ Matt Mitchell & Kate Gentile)

Oct 1 -     Pittsburgh, PA @ City of Asylum (Double Solo Concert w/Matt Mitchell)

Oct 6 -     Philadelphia, PA @ Fringe Arts (Snakeoil + Sun of Goldfinger)

Dec 1 -    New Haven, CT @ Firehouse 12

 

 

NOTE:  RELEASE DATE IS SEPT. 8.

Edited by GA Russell

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Gary Peacock Trio - Tangents

Marc Copland: piano; Gary Peacock: double bass; Joey Baron: drums

release date: September 8, 2017

 

Some of Gary Peacock's finest music has been made in piano trios. Early in his musical life, Peacock established a fresh role for the bass as an independent melodic voice, a concept carried forward in the history-making groups he's played with - from Paul Bley's and Bill Evans's trios to Keith Jarrett's. As a bandleader he has also been influential: Tangents is the second release from the great bassist's trio with Marc Copland and Joey Baron and draws on years of shared playing in diverse contexts. All three band members contribute compositions, Peacock's including "December Greenwings", revisiting a piece Gary introduced on his ECM recording December Poems. Repertoire includes five tunes from Peacock, two from Baron, one from Copland, and an outstanding group improvisation, "Empty Forest". The trio also plays Miles Davis's "Blue In Green" and, perhaps surprisingly, Alex North's theme for the film Spartacus, which also proves a fine vehicle for improvising. Tangents was recorded in Lugano in May 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

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VijaySextet MADMIMI
 

Vijay Iyer piano, Fender Rhodes; Graham Haynes cornet, flugelhorn, electronics 
Steve Lehman alto saxophone; Mark Shim tenor saxophone; Stephan Crump double-bass 
Tyshawn Sorey drums

Keyboardist-composer Vijay Iyer’s energized sequence of ECM releases has garnered copious international praise. Yet his fifth for the label since 2014 – Far From Over, featuring his dynamically commanding sextet – finds Iyer reaching a new peak, furthering an artistry that led The Guardian to call him “one of the world’s most inventive new-generation jazz pianists” and The New Yorker to describe him as “extravagantly gifted… brilliantly eclectic.” Far From Over features a sextet of virtuoso improvisers – with horn players Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim alongside rhythm partners Stephan Crump and Tyshawn Sorey – leveraging a wealth of jazz history even as it pushes boldly forward. The music ranges from the thrillingly explosive (“Down to the Wire,” “Good on the Ground”) to the cathartically elegiac (“For Amiri Baraka,” “Threnody”), with melodic hooks, entrancing atmosphere, rhythmic muscle and an elemental spirit all part of the allure. “This group has a lot of fire in it, but also a lot of earth, because the tones are so deep, the timbres and textures,” Iyer says. “There’s also air and water – the music moves.”

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Vijay Iyer Sextet On Tour

August 5 Newport, RI (Newport Jazz Festival)

September 4 Detroit, MI (Detroit Jazz Festival)

September 17 Monterey, CA (Monterey Jazz Festival)

October 20 Brooklyn, NY (BRIC Festival)

January 9 - 13 New York, NY (Birdland)

January 20 San Francisco, CA (SFJAZZ, Miner Auditorium)

April 27 Los Angeles, CA (Disney Hall)

May 11 Appleton, WI (Lawrence Memorial Chapel)

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Top banner Photo © Lynne Harty/ECM Records

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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

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Berne 3r
 

New Album INCIDENTALS

Tim Berne alto saxophone; Oscar Noriega clarinet, bass clarinet; 
Ryan Ferreira guitars; Matt Mitchell piano; 
Ches Smith drums, vibraphone, percussion, timpani 
With David Torn guitar

Tim Berne has been described as “a saxophonist and composer of granite conviction” by The New York Times. Incidentals is the fourth album from his spirited Snakeoil band and the second (following on from 2015’s You’ve Been Watching Me) to feature the quintet line-up in which his core group with clarinetist Oscar Noriega, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer/vibraphonist Ches Smith is augmented by guitarist Ryan Ferreira. The music is characteristically action-packed in the Berne tradition: powerful, dynamic, often fast-moving - yet also very clear in all its teeming detail. “We somehow achieved more sonic space by adding another player,” the bandleader notes wonderingly. It’s an impression maintained even when producer David Torn takes up his own guitar in a cameo at the climax of the modestly-titled “Sideshow”(in reality a 26-minute epic journey), soloing amid thunderous timpani and over serpentine melody outlined by sax and clarinet.

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ON TOUR

[ All dates are with Snakeoil unless otherwise indicated ]

August 6 Newport Jazz Festival

September 13 New York, NY (Jazz Standard)

September 14 Newburgh, NY (Queen of the Hudson)

September 15 Baltimore. MD (An Die Music Live!)

September 16 Chicago, IL (Constellation)

September 17 Los Angeles, CA (BlueWhale)

September 19 Reno, NV (Laughing Planet)

September 20 Portland, OR (Fremont Theatre)

September 21 Seattle, WA (Earshot, The Royal Room)

September 22 Phoenix, AZ (The Nash)

September 23 San Francisco, CA (SFJAZZ, JHL)

September 24 Vancouver (Western Front)

September 29 New Orleans, LA (The Old U.S. Mint, w/local musicians)

September 30 Pittsburgh, NY (City of Asylum: Trio w/Matt Mitchell & Kate Gentile)

October 1 Pittsburgh, NY (City of Asylum: Double solo concert w/Matt Mitchell)

October 6 Philadelphia, PA (Snakeoil + Sun of Goldfinger, FringeArts)

December 1 New Haven, CT (Firehouse 12)

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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

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David Virelles - Gnosis

release date: September 15, 2017

 

David Virelles: piano, marímbula, vocals; Román Díaz: lead vocals and percussion (bonkó enchemiyá, ekón, nkomos, erikundi, itones, nkaniká, marímbula, claves, mayohuacán, pilón, carapacho de jicotea, coconut shells);Allison Loggins-Hull: piccolo, flute; Rane Moore: clarinet, bass clarinet;

Adam Cruz: percussion (steel pan, claves); Alex Lipowski: percussion (orchestral bass drum, temple blocks, bongos, gong); Matthew Gold: percussion (marimba, glockenspiel); Mauricio Herrera: percussion (ekón, nkomos, erikundi, claves); Thomas Morgan: double bass; Yunior Lopez: viola;

Christine Chen, Samuel DeCaprio: violoncello;

Melvis Santa, Mauricio Herrera: vocals

 

In this vivid and exciting project, the Santiago-raised and New York-based pianist-composer David Virelles looks towards one melting pot from the vantage point of another. A far-reaching work with deep cultural roots, Gnosis speaks of transculturation and traditions, and of the complex tapestry of Cuba's music - the sacred, the secular, and the ritualistic - but the work's shapes and forms could only have been created by a gifted contemporary player thoroughly versed in the art of the improvisers. Strings, woodwinds and percussion all have their roles to play in Gnosis, viewed by Virelles as "several families functioning within one unit: this dynamic symbolizes multicultural interaction." Virelles' responsive piano and the vocals and percussion of Román Díaz, a profound figure in the transmission of Afro-Cuban musical history, are at the center of the action. Gnosis was recorded at New York's Avatar Studios in May 2016 and produced by Manfred Eicher.

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Tim Berne’s Snakeoil

Incidentals

 

Tim Berne: alto saxophone

Oscar Noriega: clarinet, bass clarinet

Ryan Ferreira: guitars

Matt Mitchell: piano, electronics

Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone, timpani, percussion

With David Torn: guitar   

 

U.S. Release date: September 8, 2017

ECM 2579

B0027074-02

06025 576 7257 2         

 

TB_SO_TD_HI_1.png

 

 

Incidentals is the fourth ECM album from alto saxophonist Tim Berne’s dynamic Snakeoil band. Complete and self-contained, it can also be considered a partner volume to the 2015 release You’ve Been Watching Me, further documenting a period in the band’s life in which the energetic core group of Berne, fellow reedman Oscar Noriega, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer/percussionist/vibraphonist Ches Smith was augmented by guitarist Ryan Ferreira, whose textural playing and floating, ambient sound-colors both thickened the plot and leavened the density.

 

 “We somehow achieved more sonic space by adding another player,” Berne notes wonderingly. Ferreira had been introduced to Berne by Matt Mitchell, guitarist and pianist having attended the same music school. “I’m always on the lookout for guitar players”, says Berne, “always looking for new blood.” He and Ferreira played duo for about a year, improvising freely, before the guitarist was invited to join a Snakeoil concert. “I gave him a great pile of music, and he learned it. The job required a player who was content not to be a soloist. It was almost like having a far-out keyboard player in the band, and it gave me a few more options, compositionally.” There was also a wish to subvert and challenge the modus operandi of the group. Over several years, the four piece Snakeoil had become very tight, “and when something starts to work well I like to throw something else in, to see if I still have the touch, and just to see what happens.”

 

However, the first guitar sounds heard on Incidentals derive from another source, as producer David Torn’s hands-on approach to the work extends to picking up his own instrument.  Thereafter, things happen fast. Group improvisation leads towards a dramatic first theme, then into and out of vamps, until the listener is left, as is often the case with Berne pieces, in a new and unfamiliar space.  Recapitulation is rare in his tunes: the music keeps on moving, dodging, swerving to other destinations.  To follow the action in “Hora Feliz”, Berne recommends zooming in on Snakeoil’s prodigiously gifted pianist, Matt Mitchell: “A lot of the transitions are on Matt’s shoulders. If you focus on him through the whole improv section here you can hear the amazing way he manages to develop and set up the ending of the piece with his improvising. 

 

“I’ve always liked the idea of steering people away from the material we start with. With the writing, it’s almost done the way I improvise – a lot of motives, a lot of melodic improvising, tossing little thematic things around and developing them.  That’s part of the story, anyway. Some of that also comes from seeing the AACM guys when I was starting out, and Julius Hemphill, too – in their worlds, improvisation was often a collective and amorphous thing, rather than a rhythm section playing a groove with a solo on top of it. Very little of that music was head-solo-head format, and I think that stayed with me.  A lot of the suite-like pieces I make come out of not wanting to repeat improvising ideas. If you’re improvising and you know you’re going to something completely different you have to think a little more compositionally than if you’re just playing a solo and going back to the same head.”

 

The trajectory of the 26-minute epic “Sideshow” - with another guitar cameo for Torn at its climax, weaving between thunderous timpani and over the twinned reeds of Noriega and Berne – all but defies itemization. Truly event-packed, it was once even more so.  Originally “Sideshow” was part of an hour-long piece, the other half being “Small World In A small Town”, already documented on You’ve Been Watching Me. Berne: “I didn’t want to use up a whole album with one large composition, so I split it in half. This was something we’d already successfully tried live, dividing the material over a couple of sets.”

 

Not everything in the Snakeoil book is obsessively complex. Berne says that “Stingray Shuffle” begins with a composed statement which, after the head, blossoms into textural collective improvisation, subtly shifting layers of sound against which Berne and Noriega play prettily.

 

“Incidentals Contact” comes flying out of the starting gate, its strong rhythmic drive established by the whole ensemble while Ches Smith is still, insistently, playing vibes: “Many bands will use the drums to set up the time. I’m adamant about that not happening, ever, because it’s too obvious. Ches is really great at ignoring us as long as possible, and the more freedom you give him, the more interesting the tension gets. Quite often in this group, you’ll find everyone playing rhythm except the drummer.” 

 

“Prelude One/Sequel Too” folds together two pieces, the first a futurist stepwise construction made stranger by the “weird high part” which Matt Mitchell contributed to the composition. After open improvisation it segues into “Sequel Too”, based upon the same written material as the title track ofYou’ve Been Watching Me.  Interpreted as an acoustic guitar piece in its previous incarnation, “Sequel Too” sounds radically different when voiced for the group and develops as a powerful, emotionally-expressive feature for Berne’s alto and Smith’s free, slashing drums.

 

***

 

Tim Berne has been declared “a saxophonist and composer of granite conviction” by The New York Times. Acclaim for the first, eponymous ECM album from Berne’s quartet Snakeoil came from far and wide, with The Guardian calling it “an object lesson in balancing composition, improvisation and the tonal resources of an acoustic band.” With the release of his second ECM album, Shadow Man, All About Jazz affirmed Snakeoil as “Berne’s most impressively cohesive group yet.”

 

Since learning at the elbow of St. Louis master Julius Hemphill in the ’70s, the Syracuse, NY-born Berne has built an expansive discography as a leader. In his ensembles over the past few decades, he has worked with improvisers including Joey Baron, Django Bates, Jim Black, Nels Cline. Mark Dresser, Marc Ducret, Michael Formanek, Drew Gress, Ethan Iverson, Dave King, Herb Robertson, Chris Speed, Steve Swell, Bobby Previte, Hank Roberts, Tom Rainey and Craig Taborn. As a sideman, Berne has made ECM appearances on albums by Formanek (The Rub and Spare Change, Small Places, The Distance) and David Torn (prezens). The New York Times summed him up by saying: “Few musicians working in or around jazz over the last 30 years have developed an idiomatic signature more distinctive than Tim Berne.”

 

Snakeoil, in the original Berne-Noriega-Mitchell-Smith line-up, tours North America through September and October, and plays European dates in November.

 

Further ECM recordings featuring Tim Berne are in preparation, including an album with the Sun of Goldfinger trio with David Torn and Ches Smith.

 

ECM

 

 

 

Gary Peacock Trio

Tangents

 

Gary Peacock: double-bass

Marc Copland: piano

Joey Baron: drums

 

U.S. Release date: September 8, 2017

ECM 2533    

B0027130-02

UPC: 6025 574 1910 8

           

 

Some of Gary Peacock’s finest music has been made in the context of piano trios. Early in his career, he helped to establish a fresh role for the bass as an independent melodic voice, an evolution carried forward in history-making groups led by pianists Paul Bley, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. Peacock made his leader debut on ECM in 1977 with Tales of Another, featuring the trio with Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette before it recorded famously under the pianist’s leadership. In the 21st century, one of Peacock’s most striking vehicles has been his trio with pianist Marc Copland and drummer Joey Baron. The group earned just praise on both sides of the Atlantic for its initial ECM release, Now This, in 2015.The Guardian called it “captivating,” while All About Jazz said: “These players are always in the present: listening, reacting, knowing when to play and when not to play.” These words apply just as aptly toTangents, the group’s exceptional follow-up. This trio’s tensile strength – its muscular virtuosity tempered by poetic restraint – animates five originals by Peacock, one by Copland and two by Baron, along with a darkly atmospheric free improvisation and ravishing versions of two classics associated with Bill Evans: “Blue in Green” and “Spartacus.”

 

Peacock has been collaborating with Copland since the early 1980s. “I felt a compatibility with Marc right away, a sensation of being on the same page,” the bassist recalls. “That’s only developed and deepened over the years as we’ve worked in duo, trio, quartet and quintet formats. As a composer, his harmonies offer real possibilities, as with ‘Talkin’ Blues’ on the new album. Marc and I have a kinship in that we both aspire to something that can’t be conceptualized – something more intuitive. We’re out to surrender to the muse.” For his part, Copland has said: “Taking chances is the essence of playing jazz. This is something I always felt, and when I started playing with Gary Peacock, I knew I’d met a musical soul who believed this as much as I did.”

 

Along with his detail-rich work behind the kit, Baron – a veteran of many ECM sessions – penned one of the album’s highlights, “Cauldron,” a pouncing number filled with apposite runs by Copland. About the drummer, Peacock recalls: “I played with Joey previously in a quartet with Lee Konitz and Bill Frisell about five or six years ago, so I knew that he was always there for the music, always listening. Marc and I played with several different drummers, but when we got Joey for a week at Birdland, we knew right away that this was the guy for our trio. Like Roy Haynes, Joey has this sensitive touch. He can swing brilliantly even at a low volume. After that Birdland run, I called Manfred to say that we just had to record this band. There’s a real sense of freedom with this trio, but also a lack of me, me, me. Everyone is listening for what the music tells you to do.

 

“I remember once playing a gig with Keith and Jack, and Dave Holland was there,” Peacock adds. “He came backstage afterward and asked me how I came up with ‘all those different bass lines.’ I said that it was Keith and Jack. He said, ‘No, no, how do you do it?’ But, honestly, I was responding to them, inspired in the moment by listening to them play – that’s how a bass line comes out for me, with this trio, too. It’s organic and spontaneous, reacting intuitively.”

 

Tangents opens with Peacock’s melody-rich “Contact,” with its solo bass intro offering an alluring entrée into the album. The 82-year-old bassist’s sound remains as individual as a fingerprint: rich and powerful, but also lithe and conveying a seemingly inexhaustible flow of ideas. Regarding the beautiful way his instrumental tone is captured on ECM recordings, the bassist says: “Manfred Eicher and his engineers are masters at capturing the sound of the bass. Manfred isn’t thinking about frequencies as much as he is the personality of the instrument, and the player. Also, it’s not just about the sound of the bass but how it fits in with the other instruments. And I have to say that the radio studio in Lugano where we recorded the new album is special – it’s a small auditorium, with the trio set up onstage. The ambience was fantastic, and that has such a positive effect – you can feel it.”

           

Another album highlight is Peacock’s Ornette Coleman-evoking “Rumblin’,” which features his bass singing and dancing ebulliently throughout the track. Peacock is quick to credit his early influences as a bassist. “For the melodic aspect, an early inspiration was Red Mitchell,” he says. “Red was a real mentor for me, even if it was just on records. Ray Brown was another inspiration, but for his uncanny ability to swing no matter what. Those were my guiding lights when I was a teenager just starting to play. Later, I discovered Jimmy Blanton and Oscar Pettiford, then Scott LaFaro and Paul Chambers – all were important for me. But there was also the influence of horn players – especially Miles Davis and Stan Getz – as well as a slew of pianists, particularly Bill Evans. Bill was such an inspiration melodically, harmonically, dynamically, through his choice of voicings. There was also a sense of vulnerability in his playing that drew you in – a very human feeling. He was definitely the sort of player who had a realization of the music being more important than him. One should never forget that the music is more important than you.”

 

Peacock, who recorded the classic album Trio 64 with Evans, underscores his affinity for the pianist’s legacy on Tangents with the inclusion of both the impressionistic “Blue in Green” (recorded famously in 1959 by Miles Davis on Kind of Blue, then by Evans on Portrait in Jazz just months later) and the emotive “Spartacus” (a deeply lyrical film theme by Alex North). The bassist says: “These are pieces that we’ve played often as a trio and that are always inspiring for me. The tendency when someone records a piece by a master is to attempt to re-create it, but that process just makes the piece less than what it was. Rather than emulating someone, if you just play the music and let the inspiration come through that – then you might have something. Don’t try to make it ‘better’ or ‘different,’ either. To paraphrase Miles, ‘Just shut the fuck up and play’.”

 

On Now This, Peacock, Copland and Baron reinterpreted some key compositions from the bassist’s songbook: “Moor,” “Gaia,” “Vignette,” “Requiem.” For Tangents, the trio revisited the tumbling tunefulness of “December Greenwings,” which the bassist first recorded on the 1978 ECM LP December Poems with Jan Garbarek and then again on the 2000 ECM album Amaryllis with Marilyn Crispell and Paul Motian. “The piece takes on a different quality with different instruments and personalities – you could say that each recording is a new view of similar terrain,” Peacock says. “One thing that appeals to me about it is the lack of a fixed tempo. I’m more and more drawn to music like that. A tune like ‘Gaia’ demands that you play in time – it’s important for the piece. But ‘December Greenwings’ is something else. I first really got into playing without tempo while working with Albert Ayler and Don Cherry, in the ’60s – we didn’t play time. No chords, no going back over the melody, no time – it was truly free.”

 

Asked about “Empty Forest,” the seven-minute free improvisation on Tangents, Peacock says: “Who knows where that comes from? It was just: ‘start.’ Marc, Joey and I are ideally suited to free playing together, the three of us. We’re having the same experience in the moment, feeling the music together. It doesn’t mean it’s always perfect what we do – sometimes, it’s more mud than a beautiful, flowing river. But that’s where the trust comes in – that we’ll search together and eventually find the muse, find the music.”

 

Peacock is increasingly drawn to “the unknowable,” he says, “something beyond conception. Conceptualizing can put a limit on what you can do as an improviser – you’re limited to what you can preconceive, instead of just surrendering to the music as it’s happening, tapping intuition. Theory and technique are essential, but they’re not enough – they just provide a sort of milieu. It’s not easy to find the muse. You can’t grab it, you can’t summon it – and lord knows, I’ve tried every route to that. I’ve realized that you can only get out of the way and listen. It’s there, if you really listen.”

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G.Kurtag MIMI.PRESS miniTALL
 

Chicago Tribune, Album of the week 
“Still composing at 91, György Kurtág is the last living link to the generation of great postwar European modernists led by Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, György Ligeti, Luciano Berio and Luigi Nono. This important new release, gathering his entire output of music for instrumental ensembles and chorus on a three-disc set, goes far toward according the sorely neglected Hungarian master his due place in that pantheon…. Highly recommended to adventuresome ears.” 
– John von Rhein

San Francisco Chronicle 
“…to listen to the chamber works packed into this gorgeous three-disc set — an array of instrumental, vocal and choral music all crafted with unerring sensitivity by conductor Reinbert de Leeuw — is to marvel anew at Kurtág’s versatility and range. The solo vocal music boasts its familiar spiky allure, as Kurtág spins improbably sparkling filigree out of the leaps and angular lines of traditional modernism.” 
- Joshua Kosman

Seqenza 21 
“The variance of dynamics is just one part of the multi-layered structures found in this music. From fragments of instrumental sound and disordered declamation to walls of choral sound and altissimo register vocal climaxes, Kurtág’s work encompasses a wide range of expression. In terms of desire, grief, fear, exhaustion, resiliency, and pain, there seems to be not a shade of emotion missing: his music is a complete catalog of the modernist project. Conductor Reinbert de Leeuw elicits each of these emotions and musical demeanors in turn with the surest of hands, drawing consummately detailed performances from the assembled forces. If you make it your business to get one recording of music by Kurtág, this is it.” – Christian Carey

Gramophone, Editor’s Choice 
“On this set György Kurtág’s unmatched and exacting qualities as a composer make themselves felt in typically intuitive ways….. A proper treasure trove.” - Andrew Mellor

BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★ 
“This ECM project has a special feeling of authenticity about it… The interpretations are of a consistently elevated standard…. Riveting…. Mesmerizing….grippingly ethereal and eruptive….(the performers) create a formidable new set of reference points in the performance of György Kurtág’s music.” – Terry Blain

BBC Radio 3 
“An outstanding set of performances and recordings – a window into the musical mind of Hungarian composer György Kurtág. All these Kurtág chamber works receive performances of startling immediacy and intensity, just as Kurtág’s often fragmentary, brief-to-the-point-of-brusque canvases demand. The recordings have a depth and clarity that emphasise the special relationships between voices and groups of instruments which Kurtág is so careful to delineate in his scores. It’s a Kurtág treasure chest borne out of Reinbert de Leeuw’s love of the composer and his ensemble’s 20 years of dedication to his music, and that shines through in almost every bar. I can’t recommend this set highly enough. Compulsory obviously for any Kurtág enthusiast but, better than that, an ideal way for anyone curious but yet to be converted.” 
- Andrew McGregor

The Guardian ★★★★★ 
“A magnificent and lucid guide to a great composer. György Kurtág, who turned 91 in February, is now the grand old man of European music, and perhaps the greatest living composer. This magnificent, Netherlands-sourced set brings together some of Kurtág’s greatest achievements and is performed with devotional precision and commitment.” 
- Andrew Clements

Classical Music magazine ★★★★★, Editor's Choice 
“This compelling new set…makes an ideal introduction to the composer’s intricate, dazzling soundworld. For De Leeuw, this was clearly a labour of love and, working closely with the composer, he delivers razor-sharp performances that draw the listener inexorably in. This is an unmissable set.” 
- Guy Weatherall

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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

New album – Tangents -  releasing September 8th

 

 

PEACOCK NEWS-BANNR2

 

Marc Copland piano | Gary Peacock double bass | Joey Baron drums

 

"…the connection between these three players [is] nothing short of pure magic…" 
– John Kelman, allaboutjazz.com (June 2017)

 

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Some of Gary Peacock’s finest music has been made in piano trios. Early in his musical life, Peacock established a fresh role for the bass as an independent melodic voice, a concept carried forward in the history-making groups he’s played with – from Paul Bley’s and Bill Evans’s trios to Keith Jarrett’s. As a bandleader he has also been influential: Tangents is the second release from the great bassist’s trio with Marc Copland and Joey Baron and draws on years of shared playing in diverse contexts. All three band members contribute compositions, Peacock’s including “December Greenwings”, revisiting a piece Gary introduced on his ECM recordingDecember Poems. Repertoire includes five tunes from Peacock, two from Baron, one from Copland, and an outstanding group improvisation, “Empty Forest”. The trio also plays Miles Davis’s “Blue In Green” and, perhaps surprisingly, Alex North’s theme for the film Spartacus, which also proves a fine vehicle for improvising. Tangents was recorded in Lugano in May 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

 

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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

 

 

 

 

 

 

ECM

 

 

 

David Virelles

Gnosis

with Román Díaz

and the Nosotros Ensemble

 

David Virelles: piano, marímbula

Román Díaz:lead vocals and percussion (bonkó enchemiyá, ekón, nkomos, erikundi, itones, nkaniká, marímbula, claves, mayohuacán, pilón, carapacho de jicotea, coconut shells)

Allison Loggins-Hull: piccolo, flute

Rane Moore: clarinet, bass clarinet

Adam Cruz: percussion (steel pan, claves)

Alex Lipowski: percussion (orchestral bass drum, temple blocks, bongos, gong); Matthew Gold: percussion (marimba, glockenspiel)

Mauricio Herrera: percussion (ekón, nkomos, erikundi, claves)

Thomas Morgan: double bass

Yunior Lopez: viola

Christine Chen: violoncello

Samuel DeCaprio: violoncello

Melvis Santa, David Virelles and Mauricio Herrera: background vocals

 

                                          

U.S. Release date: September 15, 2017

 

ECM 2526

B0027188-02

UPC: 6025 576 5115 7 

 

 

“Virelles looks set to make big differences in contemporary music for years to come.”

-The Guardian

 

In Gnosis, the Santiago-raised and New York-based pianist-composer David Virelles looks towards one melting pot from the vantage point of another. At one level an autobiographical album, a sequence of images conveyed through sound, Gnosis is a far-reaching work with deep roots. Transculturation and traditions are among the subjects under consideration, and the complex tapestry of Cuba’s music: the sacred, the secular, and the ritualistic.  It’s an exciting, vivid and multi-faceted project of rapidly changing temperament, in which pulsating ensemble music and pristine, meditative solo piano both have their places. And it is enveloped in a feeling of mystery and magic that has made each of Virelles’s albums special.

 

Gnosis speaks about the intersection of cultures”, Virelles says, “and of the continuing impact of that process in our present. The word ‘gnosis’ in this context refers to an ancient collective reservoir of knowledge.” In Gnosis, strings, woodwinds and percussion are assigned specific responsibilities, representing “several families functioning within one unit: this dynamic symbolizes multicultural interaction.”  Inside the ensemble pieces, Virelles’ responsive piano and the vocals and percussion of poet/drummer Román Díaz, a profound figure in the transmission of Afro-Cuban musical history, are often at the centrer of the action, carrying the story further.

 

Drawing upon Cuban sources of many kinds, Virelles cites the influence of the early 20thcentury composers Amadeo Roldán and Alejandro Garcia Caturia, who pioneered the inclusion of the Afro-Cuban percussion arsenal in their orchestral settings: “Their legacy guided me through the creation of this piece.” A variety of percussion instruments have important roles to play. “Of particular interest are the marímbula and the biankoméko ensemble. The marímbula, a wooden box with metal keys, is used traditionally in changüí music. It was also used in son music, before the bass replaced it.” The biankoméko, the sacred percussion ensemble of the Abakuá fraternity, already had a central function on Virelles’ first ECM leader date, Mbókò. 

 

Gnosis, too, draws from the musical vocabulary of the Abakuá, but for all its rich historical reference, it is a forward-looking piece, billed at its concert premiere (at Toronto’s Music Gallery in November 2015) as “futuristic Afro-Cuban chamber music.” The work’s shapes and forms could only have been created by a gifted modern player thoroughly versed in contemporary composition as well as the art of the improvisers.  As the New York Times has observed, Virelles “has a sure touch and multiple musical vocabularies, of which he seems determined to create a synthesis that isn’t schematic or obvious.”  

 

Most of Gnosis was written in New York, where Virelles is now recognized as one of the most consistently creative players on the improvising scene.  In the words of the Wall Street Journal, he has “fully absorbed the environments of two islands, Cuba and Manhattan, and now exerts influence through subtle innovations.” In addition to his own groups he is currently playing with Chris Potter and with Tomasz Stanko, as documented on several ECM recordings (refer to Potter’s The Dreamer Is The Dream and The Sirens and Stanko’s December Avenue andWisława).  He has also maintained close connections with musicians associated with the AACM, including Muhal Richard Abrams and Henry Threadgill, with whom he studied composition.  Threadgill, who appeared on Virelles’ Antenna EP, is also the arranger of “Dos”, one of the solo piano pieces here.  Another important ongoing association is with Ravi Coltrane. Virelles has played with the saxophonist’s quartet, and latterly given duo concerts with him; a Coltrane/Virelles performance at the 2017 New York Winter Jazzfest was hailed as a highlight of the

event.        

 

***

 

 

David Virelles was born into a musical family in Santiago de Cuba, his mother a classical flautist, and his father a singer/songwriter. He moved to Canada in 2001 and to New York City in 2009. The pianist’s album Continuum (Pi Recordings) was his initial exploration in the modernist refraction of Afro-Cuban ritual sounds and his first recorded collaboration with Román Díaz. Subsequent ECM leader-dates Mbókò and Antenna have received the highest critical praise, the latter garnering a 5-star review in DownBeat and an Editor’s Pick recommendation in JazzTimes, where Mike Shanley opined that “ECM couldn’t have picked more radical and freewheeling music for its return to releasing new projects on vinyl.” Gnosis, too, is issued in an audiophile vinyl edition, as well as compact disc and digital download formats.   

 

Gnosis was recorded at New York’s Avatar Studios in May 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

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VIRELLES MADMIMI-BANNR
 

David Virelles piano, marímbula, vocals | Román Díaz lead vocals and percussion (bonkó enchemiyá, ekón, nkomos, erikundi, itones, nkaniká, marímbula, claves, mayohuacán, pilón, carapacho de jicotea, coconut shells) | Allison Loggins-Hull piccolo, flute; Rane Moore: clarinet, bass clarinet | Adam Cruz: steel pan, claves; Alex Lipowski: orchestral bass drum, temple blocks, bongos, gong | Matthew Gold marimba, glockenspiel | Mauricio Herrera ekón, nkomos, erikundi, claves | Thomas Morgan double bass | Yunior Lopez viola | Christine Chen violoncello | Samuel DeCaprio violoncello | Melvis Santa, Mauricio Herrera vocals

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“…Authoritatively rendering and coalescing popular and folkloric Pan-American styles, classical music and jazz is the holy grail of artistic aspiration,” raved Ted Panken in a 2015 Jazziz reference to David Virelles. In this vivid and exciting project, the Santiago-raised and New York-based pianist-composer David Virelles looks towards one melting pot from the vantage point of another. A far-reaching work with deep cultural roots, Gnosis speaks of transculturation and traditions, and of the complex tapestry of Cuba’s music – the sacred, the secular, and the ritualistic – but the work’s shapes and forms could only have been created by a gifted contemporary player thoroughly versed in the art of the improvisers. Strings, woodwinds and percussion all have their roles to play in Gnosis, viewed by Virelles as “several families functioning within one unit: this dynamic symbolizes multicultural interaction.” Virelles’ responsive piano and the vocals and percussion of Román Díaz, a profound figure in the transmission of Afro-Cuban musical history, are at the center of the action. Gnosis was recorded at New York’s Avatar Studios in May 2016 and produced by Manfred Eicher.

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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

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Vijay Iyer Sextet- Far From Over

release date today: August 25th, 2017

 

Vijay Iyer: piano, Fender Rhodes / Graham Haynes: cornet, flugelhorn, electronics

Steve Lehman: alto saxophone / Mark Shim: tenor saxophone

Stephan Crump: double-bass / Tyshawn Sorey: drums, cymbals

 

 

If you're looking for the shape of jazz to come, here it is...the sturdiness of its design and the passion of its execution make [Far From Over] 2017's jazz album to beat.

Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone - August 24, 2017

 

The 10-track, nearly hour-long album offers one of the bandleader's strongest and most varied programs...The union of players and material inspires a new synthesis: the sound of Iyer consolidating strengths and discovering some new ones as he settles into the vibe created by his most potent band yet.                                                              

Seth Colter Walls, Pitchfork -  August 2017

 

Far From Over arrests on so many levels that at times the energy and varying emotional pulses seem nearly uncontainable.                          

John Murph, Jazzwise Magazine - September, 2017

 

 

Vijay Iyer Sextet on Tour

Sept 4              Detroit, MI                   Detroit Jazz Festival 

Sept 17            Monterey, CA              Monterey Jazz Festival

Oct 20              Brooklyn, NY               BRIC JazzFest

January 9-13   New York, NY              Birdland

January 19      San Francisco, CA      SFJAZZ, Miner Auditorium (*Vijay Iyer Trio)

January 20      San Francisco, CA      SFJAZZ, Miner Auditorium

April 27            Los Angeles, CA         Walt Disney Hall

May 11             Appleton, WI               Lawrence Memorial Chapel (Jazz Fest) 

 

The sextet's full performance from Ojai is on YouTube: https://youtu.be/FcmMrLUTUxM (the music begins at the 34 minute mark)

 
DSQ MADMIMI-BANNRrev
 

Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen violin, harmonium, piano, glockenspiel | Frederik Øland violin 
Asbjørn Nørgaard viola | Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin violoncello

They are widely recognized as the most exciting young string quartet of the present moment, bringing new insights to contemporary composition and core classical repertoire. In parallel, they have also made surprising and impressive forays into the world of Nordic folk music. Following their 2014 album Wood Works, the Danish String Quartet have been delighting audiences by concert performances of the music, and now they bring their folk project to ECM with a stirring new recording: “ In these old melodies, we find immense beauty and depth, and we can't help but sing them through the medium of our string quartet.”

Danish String Quartet On Tour

October 7 - Middlebury, VT 
(Robinson Hall, Mahaney Center for the Arts)

October 10 - Shaker Heights, OH 
(Plymouth Church UCC)

October 11 - Cincinnati, OH 
(Memorial Hall)

October 12 - Indianapolis, IN 
(Glick Indiana History Center)

October 14 - Tulsa, OK 
(Westby Pavilion)

October 15 - Tulsa, OK 
(Williams Theatre)

October 16 - Dallas, TX 
(Caruth Auditorium, SMU Owen Arts Center)

October 17 - Chattanooga, TN 
(The Hunter Museum of Art)

***
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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

Edited by GA Russell

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Björn Meyer - Provenance

Björn Meyer: bass guitar

Release date: September 29, 2017 

 

There is a distinguished tradition of solo bass albums on ECM, but Provenance is the first to be devoted to the electric bass guitar. Björn Meyer, Swedish-born and Swiss-based, has shaped a unique voice for his instrument inside the most diverse contexts, working alongside Persian harpist and singer Asita Hamidi, Swedish nyckelharpa player Johan Hedin, and Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem. For a decade he was a member of Nik Bärtsch's Ronin, in which his bass guitar was frequently the lead instrument. His solo work is concerned with the experience of sound in acoustic spaces: "Even though the instrument is technically non-acoustic, the music is deeply influenced by the properties of the space where it is played. The many different ways in which acoustics affect my compositions and improvisations have always been sources of surprise and inspiration. There is definitely a second member in this solo project - the room!" The participating room on Provenance is the highly responsive Auditorio Stello Molo RSI in Lugano, its rich acoustics helping to bring out all the fine detail in Meyer's subtle playing.

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Björn Meyer

Provenance

 

Björn Meyer: six-string electric bass guitar, acoustic bass guitar

 

U.S. Release date: September 29, 2017

 

ECM 2566                                                    

B0027253-02

UPC: 6025 574 1917 7

 

There is a distinguished tradition of albums devoted to solo bass on ECM, but Provenance is the first to showcase the electric bass guitar. Björn Meyer, born in Sweden and long based in Switzerland, has shaped a distinctive voice on his instrument within diverse contexts. He has worked alongside Persian harpist-singer Asita Hamidi, Swedish nyckelharpa player Johan Hedin and Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem; and for a decade, Meyer was a member of Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, in which his throbbing bass guitar was often a lead instrument. Meyer’s solo work explores the sound of the bass in acoustic space, as he points out in his booklet essay for the new album: “Even though the instrument is technically non-acoustic, the music is deeply influenced by the properties of the space where it is played. The many different ways in which acoustics affect my compositions and improvisations have always been sources of surprise and inspiration. There is definitely a second member in this solo project – the room!” The room for Provenance was the highly responsive Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in Lugano, the Swiss radio studio’s rich acoustics helping to bring out all the detail in Meyer’s atmospheric solo creations.

 

Meyer has taken his bass guitar into realms in which electronic instruments rarely figure, as in his collaborations with musicians steeped in the acoustic traditions of their countries. Working with Hedin, Hamidi and Brahem gave Meyer “many reasons to re-think the function of my instrument but also to invent new ways of adding sounds and extending its tonal range,” he says. The bassist appears on two of Brahem’s recent, widely acclaimed albums on ECM: Souvenance (2015) and The Astounding Eyes of Rita (2009), with The Guardian praising “the contemporary edge” Meyer added to the Tunisian’s music.

 

In the electro-acoustic “Zen-funk” of Ronin — where rhythmic inspirations from Steve Reich to James Brown come together, along with influences from Japanese theater and music — Meyer’s drive and subtlety were key, his sound integral to the sonic momentum of the ECM albums Stoa (2006), Holon (2008), Llyría (2010) and Live (2012). An expert testimonial to Meyer’s instrumental prowess has come from his successor in Ronin, Swiss bassist Thomy Jordi, who said: “Björn is one of the few bass players in the world to have developed a unique style on the instrument. His concepts of sound and technique are highly personal… In his music, he seems to integrate many sources of traditional music, creating a beautiful, spiritual, modern world language.”

 

In his booklet essay for Provenance, Meyer recounts that in preparing for solo performances over the past few years he would follow a ritual starting 27 days before a concert, one that included recording whatever he was working on: improvisations, experiments, practicing, actual compositions, or various combinations of those. “At some point during each day, I would cut out exactly 60 seconds of music and release it on the internet as a kind of countdown or diary of ideas,” he writes. “When I started preparing for this album, there were already more than 150 such fragments… I made it a mission to revisit most of the fragments and see what kind of program they would evoke. Arriving in the studio, I had a clear picture of what material I wanted to use — but I hadn’t anticipated how strongly the room would affect the music. Lugano Radio Studio is a fantastic sounding room, and it opened up for a few improvisations and a fully new piece written in the night between the recording days, in spite of the blues festival echoing in the streets of Lugano…”

 

Provenance ranges from the hushed, guitar-like title track and similarly voiced “Pendulum” to the Ronin-like rhythmic minimalism of “Dance,” from the pensive tunefulness of “Banyan Waltz” and “Three Thirteen” to his textured interpretation of Hamidi’s entrancing “Garden of Silence.” There’s also room for the virtuoso strummed funk of “Squizzle.” In the booklet, Meyer writes about his concept for capturing the sonic potential of the electric bass guitar on record, referencing his work in the studio with ECM producer Manfred Eicher and the engineer Stefano Amerio: “Very often when recording electric bass guitar, the fragile sounds of the actual instrument, such as the touching of strings, tend to get forgotten or deliberately left out — yet they inspire me in the search for new sonorities and playing techniques. With this recording, I wanted to share an alternative experience of the instrument, the way I hear it. I am very grateful that Manfred supported this approach and that Stefano managed to capture the dream behind the idea in the most beautiful way.”

ECM

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Anouar Brahem - Blue Maqams

with Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette and Django Bates

CD release date: October 13, 2017

LP release date: November 17, 2017

 

Anouar Brahem: oud; Dave Holland: double bass;

Jack DeJohnette: drums, percussion; Django Bates: piano

 

Released on the occasion of Anouar Brahem's 60th birthday, Blue Maqams, a highlight of ECM's autumn season, offers many reasons to celebrate. Recorded in New York's Avatar Studios in May 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher, it brings the Tunisian oud master together with three brilliant improvisers: the "Maqams" of the title refers to the Arabic modal music system, rendered kind of blue by the jazz players. For Anouar Brahem and Dave Holland the album marks a reunion: they first collaborated 20 years ago on the very widely-acclaimed Thimar album. Brahem meets Jack DeJohnette for the first time here, but Holland and DeJohnette have been frequent musical partners over the last half-century beginning with ground-breaking work with Miles Davis - their collaborations are legendary. British pianist Django Bates also rises superbly to the challenge of Brahem's compositions. And Anouar in turn is inspired to some of his most outgoing playing.

 
VIRELLES MADMIMI-BANNR5
 

“Gnosis is a remarkable example of either, or both….Mr. Virelles, who is 33 and a New Yorker since 2009, is a pianist of remarkable skill and unwavering ambition… Focused research infuses this music, yet the expression is purely visceral and the context imagined. The richness of chamber-music interplay arrives free of rhythmic rigidity. The ingredients of ritual music form cells for compositions that, in spots, give way to improvisation that again, in new ways, bears a ritual feel. 
 Larry Blumenfeld, Wall Street Journal September 13th

Virelles

David Virelles piano, marímbula, vocals | Román Díaz lead vocals and percussion (bonkó enchemiyá, ekón, nkomos, erikundi, itones, nkaniká, marímbula, claves, mayohuacán, pilón, carapacho de jicotea, coconut shells) | Allison Loggins-Hull piccolo, flute; Rane Moore clarinet, bass clarinet | Adam Cruz: steel pan, claves; Alex Lipowski orchestral bass drum, temple blocks, bongos, gong | Matthew Gold marimba, glockenspiel | Mauricio Herrera ekón, nkomos, erikundi, claves | Thomas Morgan double bass | Yunior Lopez viola | Christine Chen violoncello | Samuel DeCaprio violoncello | Melvis Santa, Mauricio Herrera vocals

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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

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Brahem MIMI.PRESS
 

Anouar Brahem oud | Dave Holland double bass 
Jack DeJohnette drums, percussion | Django Bates piano

Released on the occasion of Anouar Brahem’s 60th birthday, Blue Maqams offers many reasons to celebrate. Recorded in New York’s Avatar Studios in May 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher, it brings the Tunisian oud master together with three brilliant improvisers: the “Maqams” of the title refers to the Arabic modal music system, rendered kind of blue by the jazz players. For Anouar Brahem and Dave Holland the album marks a reunion: they first collaborated 20 years ago on the very widely-acclaimed Thimar album. Brahem meets Jack DeJohnette for the first time here, but Holland and DeJohnette have been frequent musical partners over the last half-century beginning with ground-breaking work with Miles Davis – their collaborations are legendary. British pianist Django Bates also rises superbly to the challenge of Brahem’s compositions. And Anouar in turn is inspired to some of his most outgoing playing. Blue Maqams is a highlight of ECM’s autumn season.

IMINI
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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

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Stefano Battaglia - Pelagos

Release date: October 20, 2017

 

Stefano Battaglia: piano, prepared piano

 

Stefano Battaglia plays both piano and prepared piano (sometimes simultaneously) in a highly attractive double-album program that includes his own compositions and spontaneous improvisations as well as two versions of the Arabic traditional song "Lamma Bada Yatathanna". The melodic and texturally-inventive pieces, some of almost hypnotic allure, were recorded both in concert and in "closed doors" sessions at the Fazioli Concert Hall in Sacile, Italy, in May 2016, and subsequently arranged into what Battaglia describes as "a wonderful new shape with a completely new dramaturgy" by producer Manfred Eicher.

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Anouar Brahem

Blue Maqams

w/ Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette and Django Bates

 

Anouar Brahem: oud

Dave Holland: double bass

Jack DeJohnette: drums

Django Bates: piano

 

U.S. Release date: October 13, 2017

ECM 2580

B0027340-02

UPC: 6025 576 7265 7

 

 

Three brilliant improvisers join Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem in this album, recorded in New York in May 2017. For Brahem and Dave Holland the album marks a reunion: they first collaborated 20 years ago on the very widely-acclaimed Thimar album, a trio recording with John Surman. Brahem meets Jack DeJohnette for the first time here, but Holland and DeJohnette have, of course, been frequent musical partners over the last half-century, beginning with ground-breaking work with Miles Davis: their collaborations are legendary. British pianist Django Bates also rises superbly to the challenge of Brahem’s compositions. And Anouar in turn is inspired to some of his most outgoing playing.

 

For Anouar Brahem, it’s the work itself that sets a direction. He addresses the question of context and setting only as his music “emerges”: “I simply began in my usual way”, he writes in his liner note for Blue Maqams. “Letting the ideas come in of their own accord, with no tendency one way or another in terms of style, form or instrumentation.” He worked on several sketches in parallel, “and what emerged first and then really began to take shape was my desire to blend the sounds of the oud and the piano once again, soon followed by my wish to associate this delicate instrumental combination with a real jazz rhythm section.”

 

Although he has never harbored ambitions to be a jazz player, Anouar has long felt a sense of solidarity with the music’s practitioners: “I first started listening to jazz when I was a teenager living in Tunis in the 70s. At the time, I was passionately devoted to the traditional Arab music I’d had the good fortune to study under the great master Ali Sriti. Paradoxically, I was [also] full of curiosity about other forms of musical expression. The aesthetics of jazz were very different to those of Arab music, but I was attracted by this music that took me into a completely different world, one I felt close to as well. Undoubtedly there is a kind of spontaneity in Arab music, a way of playing that allows musicians to go deep into their own feelings and take some liberties with the original score through improvisation; and perhaps this somehow echoes what happens in jazz.”

 

Brahem began to play with jazz improvisers in the 1980s, with recorded collaborations beginning the following decade. The album Madar (1992) brought Anouar together with saxophonist Jan Garbarek and tabla player Shaukat Hussain, while Khomsa (1994) found him reworking compositions written for film and theater with improvisers including François Couturier, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen. Thimar (1997), with Dave Holland and John Surman, marked a major breakthrough in the space between the traditions, with the participants finding a shared musical language. Blue Maqams takes this notion further. The “maqams” of the title refers to the sophisticated modal system of Arab music, perhaps rendered kind of blue by the participating improvisers.

 

Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette have played together on a number of ECM recordings including four albums with John Abercrombie in the Gateway trio, Kenny Wheeler’s Gnu High and Deer Wan, and George Adams’s Sound Suggestions. Brahem first encountered this mighty bass and drums team live in Zurich in the early 1990s, when they were performing with Betty Carter and Geri Allen. “This charismatic rhythm section left a very powerful impression.” Playing live with Dave Holland, on tours with the Thimar trio, was an experience Brahem cherished. “I often told Dave that his playing gave me wings as a soloist. And we spoke, too, about doing more recording. It was a matter, though, of waiting for the right material. But once I’d thought about Dave for this new album, it was very natural to think about Jack, too. It’s an immense privilege to have their participation.” Bringing the jazz drum kit and the soft-singing oud together presents specific dynamic challenges: “I was aware, when I saw that the music would need drums, that this would indeed be challenging, but I also felt that if anybody could address this creatively, it would be Jack DeJohnette, who is one of the most sensitive and subtle drummers. He can move as delicately as a cat, with such a graceful and flowing rhythm. “

 

Finding the right pianist for the project took longer. “For several months, I listened to a considerable number of players and had many long discussions with Manfred about the style I thought this record needed. Finally, he asked me one day to listen to a recording he’d just made with Django Bates…” [This was The Study of Touch, with Bates’s Belovèd trio with Petter Eldh and Peter Bruun, scheduled for release in November.] “I was highly impressed by Django’s mixture of virtuosic musicianship and lyricism. In the recording studio, I discovered several qualities in Django, not only his dazzling piano technique, but also his creative and inventive powers and his outstandingly strong proposals. He does some absolutely magnificent things on this recording that always bring something new and unusual to the score.”

 

Balancing freedom and faithfulness to the score is crucial for Anouar Brahem: “I like each piece to keep its own identity in and through written music. The musician’s role is to fit into this universe and express himself inside the framework of this identity…. It’s important for me to keep the true universe of each piece. An important part of our group work has been about this aspect – working together to find the right balance between composed and improvised music. For even in composed pieces or passages where I leave no room for personal interpretation, I like the music to sound as though it surges forth in an inspired, improvised flow.”

 

The music for Blue Maqams was written between 2011 and 2017, with the exception of two pieces, “Bom Dia Rio” and “Bahia”, both of which were composed in 1990, and revived for this project. Long-term Brahem listeners will be familiar with “Bahia”, a version of which can be heard on Madar.

 

Blue Maqams was recorded at New York’s Avatar Studios and produced by Manfred Eicher. It is issued as CD, vinyl double album, and digital download. Simultaneously, ECM reissues Brahem’s first ECM recording Barzakh (1990) as 180 gram audiophile LP.

 

The Blue Maqams quartet will tour Europe in April 2018 with concerts at major venues in France, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal and Belgium.  Dates include:

April 8             Paris                           Philharmonie,

April 9             Blagnac                     Odyssud

April 11           Zürich                         Tonhalle

April 12           Basel                          Musical Theater

April 14           Munich                      Philharmonie

April 15           Hamburg                    Elbphilharmonie

April 16           Lisbon                        Gulbenkian Música

April 18          Brussels                     Palais des Beaux Arts

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Thanks for continuing to post these. I find them to be useful.

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Thanks David!

ECM

 

 

Stefano Battaglia

Pelagos

 

Stefano Battaglia: piano and prepared piano

 

U.S. Release date: October 20, 2017

 

ECM 2570-71                              

2-CD: B0027263-02

UPC: 6025 576 8963 1    

                                                  

 

To date, Stefano Battaglia’s ECM discography has taken the listener to many different places. The Italian pianist has reinterpreted art songs of Alec Wilder on In The Morning, set a dedication to Pina Bausch amid improvised duets on Pastorale, created new structures in the moment with Dominique Pifarély on Raccolto, drawn inspiration from mythical and legendary locations on The River of Anyder and Songways as well as from diverse way stations in the biography of a great Italian polymath on Re: Pasolini. Cultural and other influences flow into his music from very many directions.

 

Pelagos, Battaglia’s new double album of solo piano – recorded at the Fazioli Concert Hall in Sacile, Italy, last year – can be heard as an extended meditation on themes of exile and migration. “Reality sometimes suggests or implies improvisations and even repertoires,” he notes. Titles of individual pieces provide some directional clues and cues to the matter at hand.

 

Apart from the Arabic traditional song “Lamma Bada Yatathanna”, a tune with historical roots in Moorish Andalusia, which is heard in two variations, all the music here is by Battaglia. “Pelagos”, “Halap”, “Exilium”, “Migration Mantra”, and “Ufratu” are compositions by the pianist. All other pieces were spontaneously improvised, though Battaglia’s feeling for form makes also the extemporaneous pieces seem robust. The album derives from two sources: a live concert and a “closed doors” session at the Faziola Hall earlier the same day. The tracks “Destino”, “Migralia”, Processional”, “Halap”, “Life”, “Hora Mundi”, “Exilium”, “Migration Mantra”, “Heron”, and the version of “Lamma Bada Yatathanna” heard on CD 1 are all drawn from the concert performance.

 

Stefano Battaglia plays both piano and prepared piano here, sometimes simultaneously, exploring a remarkable range of sound colors in melodic and texturally-inventive pieces. Some, of almost hypnotic allure, seem to have an associative frame of reference spanning the distance between ritual music, traditional song, contemporary composition, and modal jazz, although Battaglia himself is wary of style definitions. As he once said, “For years I have tended to simplify, to aspire to a ‘de-idiomisation’ of the musical universe, and particularly to imagine music as a universal metalanguage, a place which is genuinely without boundaries, not just in words but in fact.”

 

In the original notes for the Sacile concert, given within the context of a Piano Jazz 2016 festival, Battaglia spoke of the conceptual themes running through his program. These included “songs and dances of the suffering countries of the Mediterranean and Balkan areas”, and the practice of improvisation as a means of embracing the unknown, as “a manifesto for those who, like me, see it as a path of revelation, through all of its mysteries.”

 

***

 

Born in Milan in 1965, Stefano Battaglia originally trained as a classical pianist. He first attracted attention on the European festival scene, playing mainly baroque and 20th century music, before making the transition to music that incorporated improvisation, inspired initially by Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett. By the late 1980s he was winning jazz awards. Subsequently he played with Lee Konitz, Dewey Redman, Marc Johnson, Barre Phillips, Steve Swallow, Kenny Wheeler, Pierre Favre and Tony Oxley, among many others.

 

Battaglia has given master-classes at Siena Jazz each summer since 1988, and since 1996 he has led Siena’s Laboratorio Permanente di Ricerca Musicale, a musical research workshop, where he has been able to explore his interests in improvisation, composition and experimentation, in particular the improvisational practices of diverse musical languages.

 

He has been an ECM artist 2003, when the double album Raccolto (Harvest) was recorded.

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HIEROGLYPHEN

Valentin Silvestrov 
Hieroglyphen der Nacht

Anja Lechner violoncello, tamtam | Agnès Vestermann violoncello

Released in time for the great Ukrainian composer’s 80th birthday on September 30, this features Silvestrov’s achingly beautiful music for solo violoncello and for two cellos. His compositions often take the form of metaphorical conversations with composers of the past and the present. “My own music is a response to and an echo of what already exists,” says Silvestrov, viewing his oeuvre as a series of “codas” to music history.

amaz2
itun2
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Secret History

John Potter 
Secret History 
Sacred Music by Josquin and Victoria

John Potter voice | Anna Maria Friman voice 
Ariel Abramovich, Jacob Heringman alto, tenor & bass vihuelas 
Lee Santana alto & tenor vihuelas | Hille Perl viola da gamba

Tomas Luis de Victoria and Josquin Desprez were not contemporaries, lived and worked in different countries, and perhaps shared little in terms of abstract compositional style. Yet generations of musicians recognized them as kindred spirits, and tablature versions of their masses and motets circulated amongst lutenists. In this characteristically creative project, Potter - joined by Trio Mediaeval singer Anna Maria Friman and three outstanding vihuela players - explores “what happens to music after it is composed.”

amaz2
itun2
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TANGERE

Alexei Lubimov 
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 
Tangere

Alexei Lubimov tangent piano

Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov is the rare artist who has been a trailblazer in two directions, both a champion of new music and a dedicated interpreter of Baroque music with a passion for period instruments. In this remarkable reading of music by CPE Bach, Lubimov responds to the inventiveness of the composer’s fantasies, sonatas and rondos by making full creative use of the sonorities of the tangent piano with great expression and intensity.

amaz2
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LAST LEAF

Danish String Quartet 
Last Leaf

Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen violin, harmonium, piano, glockenspiel 
Frederik Øland violin | Asbjørn Nørgaard viola 
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin violoncello, double bass

They are widely recognized as the most exciting young quartet of the moment, 
bringing new insights to contemporary composition and core classical repertoire. In parallel, their surprising and impressive forays into the world of Nordic folk music delight audiences 
at their concerts. This stirring new recording is their second folk project: 
“in these old melodies, we find immense beauty and depth, and we can't help 
but sing them through the medium of our string quartet,” says the DSQ

amaz2
itun2
***
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© 2017 ECM | ECM Records USA | 1755 Broadway, 3rd floor | New York NY 10011

ECM

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Django Bates' Belovèd - The Study of Touch

Release date: November 3, 2017

 

Django Bates: piano; Petter Eldh: double bass; Peter Bruun: drums

 

 

British pianist Django Bates returns to ECM with one of his very finest constellations, the trio Belovèd, with Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and Danish drummer Peter Bruun, and an aptly named album, The Study of Touch. All three musicians are highly individual players, subtly challenging the conventions of the jazz piano trio. The group came together a decade ago when Bates was teaching at Copenhagen's Rhythmic Music Conservatory. Bates' composing and arranging skills are much in evidence, along with his freewheeling, free-flowing virtuosic melodic sense. The terse, percussive edge of Petter Eldh's bass provides momentum and drummer Peter Bruun details the music with an almost painterly touch. In the crowded world of the piano trio, Belovèd has developed a sound all its own. The Study of Touch was recorded at Oslo's Rainbow Studio in June 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

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Maciej Obara Quartet - Unloved

Release date: November 3, 2017

 

Maciej Obara: alto saxophone; Dominik Wania: piano;

Ole Morten Vågan: double bass; Gard Nilssen: drums

 

Maciej Obara makes a striking ECM debut with Unloved, an album whose expressive range embraces tender lyricism and impassioned, fiery, powerful playing. With the exception of the title track - written by Krzysztof Komeda (spiritus rector of modern jazz in Poland) for Janusz Nasfeter's film of the same name - themes are by the highly inventive alto saxophonist. Obara emphasizes however that his themes "serve as outlines, from which our sound is set free. My friends are amazing improvisers. I love their ability to move around freely in open spaces, and the way they shape and give color to what I have in mind...It's more like composing in real time." The players have been developing their concept for several years: Maciej Obara and pianist Dominik Wania, another major talent, first met in a Tomasz Stanko ensemble a decade ago. Since 2012 they have been joined by two highly creative Norwegian musicians, bassist Ole Morten Vågan and drummer Gard Nilssen. (Vågan's ECM credits include work with Thomas Strønen's Time Is A Blind Guide, while Nilssen can be heard on Mathias Eick's Skala.) Unloved was recorded at Oslo's Rainbow Studio in January 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher.

 
 
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