GA Russell

ECM Press Releases for New Items

153 posts in this topic


Wadada Leo Smith trumpet; Bill Frisell guitar; Andrew Cyrille drums  

Lebroba featuring Andrew Cyrille, Bill Frisell and Wadada Leo Smith brings together three of creative music’s independent thinkers, players of enduring influence.  A generous leader, Cyrille gives plenty of room to his cohorts, and all three musicians bring in compositions.  In his own pieces Cyrille rarely puts the focus on the drums, preferring to play melodically and interactively, sensitive to pitch and to space - his priority today is an elliptical style in which meter is implied rather than stated.


Wolfgang Muthspiel guitar; Ambrose Akinmusire trumpet; Brad Mehldau piano; Larry Grenadier double bass; Eric Harland drums 

Muthspiel’s “lyrical and painterly style” has won him many admirers. Where The River Goes carries the story forward from  the highly-acclaimed 2016 recording Rising Grace. Featuring a cast of heavyweight talent (Mehldau, Akinmusire, Grenadier, Harland), this is much more than an “all-star” gathering. The group plays as an ensemble with its own distinct identity, evident both in the interpretation of Muthspiel’s pieces and in the collective playing.  


Shai Maestro piano; Jorge Roeder double bassOfri Nehemya drums 

The first ECM leader date for Shai Maestro features the gifted pianist fronting his superlative trio in a program predominantly of characteristically thoughtful Maestro originals. “Hearing the Shai Maestro Trio is like awakening to a new world”, All About Jazz has suggested. “Expressions of joy, introspective thoughts and heightened intensity all come to the fore.” Maestro’s differentiated touch is special; he can convey a range of fleeting emotions in a single phrase.


Mark Turner tenor saxophone; Ethan Iverson piano

This album marks the recording debut of Turner and Iverson in duo. Years after their first meeting at NYC jam sessions, and following much individual success (Turner as a leader and in demand sideman, and Iverson in hit trio The Bad Plus) they re-connected as part of the exhilarating and widely-lauded Billy Hart Quartet. On Temporary Kings, they explore aesthetic common ground that embodies the heightened intimacy of modernist chamber music in a program of predominantly original compositions.


Barre Phillips double bass 

Barre Phillips was the first musician to record an album of solo double bass, back in 1968, and he has always been an absolute master of the solo idiom.  In March 2017, Barre recorded what he says will be his last solo album, the final chapter of this journey: it is a beautiful and moving musical statement.  All the qualities we associate with his playing are here in abundance – questing adventurousness, melodic invention, textural richness, developmental logic, and deep soulfulness.


Marcin Wasilewski piano; Slawomir Kurkiewicz double bass; Michal Miskiewicz drums

This live recording captures the trio in energetic, extroverted mode, fanning the flames of their previously recorded repertoire and drawing on the decades-long deep understanding the musicians have established over a quarter century of shared musical endeavor. As UK magazine Jazz Journal has noted, “Wasilewski’s music celebrates a vast dynamic range, from the most deftly struck pianistic delicacies to gloriously intense emotional exuberance, all within a marvelously melodic concept.”


Jakob Bro guitar; Thomas Morgan double bass; Joey Baron drums  

                                                                                        This poetically attuned group follows its ECM studio album of Streams (2016) – which The New York Times lauded as “ravishing”-  with an album recorded live over two nights in New York City.  Bay of Rainbows  rolls on waves of contemplative emotion, with gradually enveloping lyricism the lodestar. Recast intimately and elastically for trio, the pieces are illustrative of Bro and company’s ability to push and pull the music into mesmerizing new shapes, onstage and in the moment.

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


Mats Eilertsen Trio - And Then Comes The Night 

release date February 1, 2019


Harmen Fraanje: piano; Mats Eilertsen: double bass; Thomas Strønen: drums 


Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen has been a distinctive presence on ECM recordings by, amongst others, Tord Gustavsen, Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick, Nils Økland, Wolfert Brederode and Jakob Young and has long maintained several projects of his own, including this trio, now in its 10th year of existence. And Then Comes The Night (named after the novel by Icelandic writer Jón Kalman Stefánsson) was recorded at the Audiotorio Stelio Molo in Lugano and Eilertsen,  drummer Thomas Strønen, and Dutch pianist  Harmen Fraanje make full use of what Mats calls the studio's "special character and atmosphere" and the acutely-focused interplay the room encourages.  "We came in with a number of compositional sketches and the intention of seeing what could be shaped from them, with Manfred Eicher's help, in that specific space." The result is an album of subtle group music, sidestepping many of the conventions of trio playing, in a recording that demands and rewards concentrated listening.   


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yonathan Avishai - Joys and Solitudes 

release date January 25, 2019


Yonathan Avishai: piano; Yoni Zelnik: doublebass; 

Donald Kontomanou: drums 


Israeli-French pianist Yonathan Avishai has made important contributions to the music of Avishai Cohen, as documented on Into The Silence and Cross My Palm With Silver.  In parallel, over the last five years, he has been developing his own project with the trio heard here, with Paris-based Israeli bassist Yoni Zelnik and Donald Kontomanou, French drummer of Guinean and Greek heritage. Sometimes known as the Modern Times Trio, its programming here opens with Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo": "Ellington is still a thoroughly modern pianist and composer," Yonathan Avishai muses. In the original pieces that follow, Avishai makes references to a broad range of musics and experiences. "Les pianos de Brazzaville" recalls his journeys to the Republic of the Congo.  "Tango" is a creative response to hearing Dino Saluzzi and Anja Lechner's Ojos Negros.  "When Things Fall Apart" is inspired by the compositions of Avishai Cohen.  Such diverse influences are filtered through Yonathan's tradition-conscious piano playing, alert to old values of blues feeling and swing yet also strikingly original in its decisiveness and concision. Joys and Solitudes was recorded at the Lugano Auditiorio Stelio Molo RSI, in February 2018, and produced by Manfred Eicher.  



Ralph Alessi - Imaginary Friends 

release date February 1, 2019


Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Ravi Coltrane: tenor and sopranino saxophones; 

Andy Milne: piano; Drew Gress: double-bass; Mark Ferber: drums  


Trumpeter Ralph Alessi's first two ECM albums as a leader - Baida (2013) and Quiver (2016) - justly earned him high praise. The New York Times lauded the "elegant precision and power" of Baida, while The Guardian extolled Quiver, pointing to the leader's "flawless technique and ability to draw on jazz tradition while avoiding its clichés." After those quartet discs, Alessi's third ECM album, Imaginary Friends, presents him fronting a longtime working quintet in its first recording since 2010. Alessi's bandmates include a kindred spirit in saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, a studio and stage partner of the trumpeter's since they were students together at the California Institute of the Arts in the late '80s. They are joined by pianist Andy Milne and drummer Mark Ferber, both making their ECM debuts, plus bassist Drew Gress, who played on Baida and Quiver. The nine Alessi compositions of Imaginary Friends include an irresistible highlight in "Iram Issela," with its rich seam of bittersweet melody and exceptional soloing by Coltrane setting the scene for an album of quicksilver beauty.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites





Mats Eilertsen Trio

And Then Comes The Night


Harmen Fraanje: piano

Mats Eilertsen: double bass

Thomas Strønen: drums


Release date: February 1, 2019

ECM 2619                              


UPC: 6025 7702 567 9                                  


In 2016, the release of Mats Eilertsen’s album Rubicon gave notice of the breadth of the Norwegian bassist’s compositional range as well as his capacity to direct an ensemble of strong individual voices. Long an important contributor to ECM recordings, and appearing on albums by Tord Gustavsen, Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick, Nils Økland, Wolfert Brederode, Jakob Young and more, Eilertsen has concurrently maintained projects of his own, including the present trio, now in its tenth year of existence.


The new album (named after the novel Summer Light, And Then Comes The Night by Icelandic writer Jón Kalman Stefánsson) is the trio’s first for ECM, and follows two discs on the Hubro label.  It was recorded in May 2018 at Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo and Eilertsen, drummer Thomas Strønen, and pianist Harmen Fraanje make full use of what Mats calls the studio’s “special character and atmosphere” and the acutely-focused interplay the room seems to encourage. Mats explains: “We came in with a number of songs and compositional sketches and the intention of seeing what could be shaped from them, what could be carved out, with Manfred Eicher’s help, in that specific location.  Playing totally acoustically and without headphones, we could work with fine detail in the improvising and really give the music space to sing out in the natural reverb of the room.”


The result is an album of subtle and luminous group music, sidestepping many of the conventions of trio playing, in a recording that demands and rewards concentrated listening. “There is almost no theme-solo-theme playing on this album,” Eilertsen notes. “It’s more like a river or whirlpool of moods that carries you with it.”


The album opens and closes with variations of the sombre “22”, titled for the 22nd of July 2011, when it was composed by Eilertsen in stunned response to news of the attacks on the island of Utøya. “It wasn’t conceived as a homage,” he says quietly. “It was just what I did that day.”


Some pieces on the album are more “written” than others. “Sirens” for instance, “moves once through the written material, with Harmen, of course, having the freedom to respond to it as he chooses. He’s such a brilliant player and will discover another dimension in the material that I present to him. The same goes for Thomas’s drumming, where no parts are written.” Sensitized overlapping of deep pulses from double bass and the unpitched throb of the gran casa drum intensify the sense of mystery at the bottom end of the music. 


“The Void” is an older Eilertsen piece, which draws an improviser into its emptiness.  “It’s a piece I’ve played for many years in many different ways. Live, it can open up into total freedom….Here the piano part is very close to the way it was composed.”



Pianist Harmen Fraanje played on Mats’ Rubicon, but the association with Eilertsen goes back to 2001, when Mats was living in the Netherlands.  “I actually met Harmen in my very last week in Holland, and we played a gig together. That was the start of things.” Harmen and Mats worked for a while with Belgian drummer Teun Verbruggen, before Thomas Strønen was drafted into the line-up.  Eilertsen and Strønen already had shared history: both had studied in Trondheim, and they had played in numerous groups together. 


One early collaboration was on the debut album of the band Food, recorded in 1998: Mats played in the original incarnation of this group, alongside Strønen, Iain Ballamy and Arve Henriksen. A first shared recording on ECM was with the Strønen-led improvisational band Parish in 2004, where drummer and bassist collaborated with pianist Bobo Stenson and saxophonist and clarinettist Fredrik Ljungkvist.


Recent recordings with Mats Eilertsen include Trygve Seim’s Helsinki Songs and Mathias Eick’sMidwest.  In addition to co-leadership of Food, whose ECM albums are This Is Not A Miracle, Mercurial Balm, and Quiet Inlet, Thomas Strønen leads the ensemble Time Is A Blind Guide whose eponymously titled first album was followed in 2018 by Lucus.      


Harmen Fraanje has been hailed by All About Jazz as “one of the most impressive young European pianists” of the last decade. Active across a wide area of jazz and improvisation, he leads and co-leads several projects of his own, and has played with musicians including Ambrose Akinmusire, Mark Turner, Kenny Wheeler, Thomas Morgan, Tony Malaby, Han Bennink, Ernst Reijseger, Theo Bleckmann, Ben Monder, Enrico Rava, Louis Moholo, Ferenc Kovács, Rudi Mahall and Trygve Seim.


And Then Comes The Night is issued as the Mats Eilertsen Trio embarks on a European tour with concerts in France, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway. Dates include Sunside Jazzclub, Paris (January 29), Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham (January 30), Unterfahrt, Munich (January 31), Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria, Oslo (February 1), Brorson Kirke, Copenhagen (February 3), Schloß Elmau, Elmau  (February 5),  Paradox, Tilburg (February 6),  Bimhuis, Amsterdam (February 7), Vredenburg, Utrecht (February 8),  Arena, Moss (February 10),  and UriJazz, Tonsberg (March 20). Further plans for the next year include concerts in which the Mats Eilertsen Trio joins forces with vocal group Trio Mediaeval.





Ralph Alessi

Imaginary Friends


Ralph Alessi: trumpet

Ravi Coltrane: tenor and sopranino saxophones

Andy Milne: piano

Drew Gress: double-bass

Mark Ferber: drums


Release date: February 1, 2019


ECM 2629                              


UPC: 6025 770 1817 6                                  



Ralph Alessi and the band to perform at Winter Jazzfest

January 11th on the ECM stage at le poisson rouge



Trumpeter Ralph Alessi’s first two ECM albums as a leader – Baida (2013) and Quiver (2016) – justly earned him high praise. The New York Times lauded the “elegant precision and power” of Baida, while The Guardian extolled Quiver, pointing to the leader’s “flawless technique and ability to draw on jazz tradition while avoiding its clichés.” After those quartet discs, Alessi’s third ECM album, Imaginary Friends, presents him fronting a longtime working quintet in its first recording since 2010. Alessi’s bandmates include a kindred spirit in saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, a studio and stage partner of the trumpeter’s since they were students together at the California Institute of the Arts in the late ’80s. They are joined by pianist Andy Milne and drummer Mark Ferber, both making their ECM debuts, plus bassist Drew Gress, who played on Baida and Quiver. The nine Alessi compositions of Imaginary Friends include an irresistible highlight in “Iram Issela” (the title being his 8-year-old daughter’s name spelled backward). The track’s rich seam of bittersweet melody – and exceptional soloing by Coltrane – sets the scene for an album of quicksilver beauty.


Alessi – after recording his first ECM album at New York’s Avatar and his second at Oslo’s Rainbow – convened his quintet for Imaginary Friends in France at La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines (where the trumpeter had previously worked as part of the ensemble for pianist Florian Weber’s label debut as a leader, Lucent Waters). Alessi and company joined ECM founder Manfred Eicher in the studio after more than a dozen performances across Europe, with the trumpeter’s compositions “developing on tour,” he recalls. “We had hit the music hard on the road and were hot when we got in there with Manfred. We were confident with the material, relaxed but focused – the vibe was great.”


Working with Eicher has inevitably influenced Alessi’s manner of music-making, he says: “The sound of the records and the general aesthetic vision has inspired a certain side of me. Manfred encourages you to respect the space in the music, and that approach resonates with me, and pulls the band in, too. We slow down a bit and make the most of the space within the music, resisting the natural urge to fill up every space with notes. It isn’t easy to do – it requires a certain discipline.”


Over the past decade and a half, Alessi’s working quintet has often gone by the moniker This Against That, with this version of the lineup making two previous albums together and touring extensively. The trumpeter has a particularly strong relationship with Coltrane, since becoming friends as students. “It has been a wonderful thing witnessing Ravi mature as a musician,” Alessi says. “He has such a beautiful sound, with a distinctive voice on the instrument – not an easy thing on the tenor sax, in particular. He has acquired a new level of depth in recent years and sounds great on this new album, so centered and free in the way he expresses himself on the horn. Ravi plays such a moving solo on ‘Iram Issela’ that it brought tears to my eyes. His patient, unhurried manner of playing has also been inspiring, with his sense of phrasing and rhythmic vocabulary bringing something out of me that I really like. Where we solo together on the album’s title track was an especially great studio moment.”


Alessi played with Milne in saxophonist Steve Coleman’s band in the mid-’90s. “Andy is such a dynamic pianist,” the trumpeter says. “Those days playing very rhythmic music in Steve’s band only scratched the surface of what he could do. He can also create such a meditative feel with his soloing, like in ‘Iram Issela’ and ‘Melee,’ for instance. He has a way of being focused and taking his time with an idea, and that’s something I’m always drawn to in a player. At the end of the record, we included a brief duet with the two of us, just playing through the melody in a rubato fashion. He can be more grooving, too, of course, as in ‘Fun Room.’ Andy also adds a prepared-piano element to the album, subtly expanding the sound of a track like ‘Pittance’.”


Ferber leads off “Fun Room” with a rolling, richly musical drum solo, while a ruminative Gress arco solo helps color “Imaginary Friends.” As a rhythm battery in tandem, “Drew and Mark’s musicianship and command of the music are always rock solid,” Alessi explains, “and their level of listening could hardly be more profound – the radar is always on with those two.”


Born in 1963, Alessi himself has long been renowned as a musician’s musician, a first-call New York trumpeter who can play virtually anything on sight and has excelled as an improviser in groups led by not only Coleman, Coltrane and Weber but also the likes of Uri Caine and Don Byron, along with duetting with Fred Hersch and leading his own groups. Over the past half-decade, Alessi’s prolific composing has ripened, and he has only evolved further as a trumpeter, his gorgeous sound floating expressively above the band or slicing dynamically through it. DownBeat described his playing this way: “Alessi works between the notes, his thoughtful, conversational solos as meditative as a calligrapher’s art, each line free-flowing and declarative but with immaculate shape and beauty.” Praising his abilities as a leader, LondonJazz said: “Alessi’s stock-in-trade is to make the angularities and asymmetries of complex tunes sound natural, to assert their logic, to lead. There is always a sense of direction.”


Reflecting on the making of Imaginary Friends alongside Coltrane, Milne, Gress and Ferber, Alessi concludes: “After all these years of being friends and playing in this band and various others together, it’s great to have arrived at a moment when we could make a record like this for ECM.”




Yonathan Avishai

Joys and Solitudes


Yonathan Avishai: piano

Yoni Zelnik: double bass

Donald Kontomanou: drums

Release date: January 25, 2019

ECM 2611                        


UPC:  6025 675 1624 8                                                        


Israeli-French pianist Yonathan Avishai has made important contributions to the music of Avishai Cohen, as documented on the ECM albums Into The Silence and Cross My Palm With Silver. In parallel, over the last five years, he has been developing his own project with the trio heard here, with Paris-based Israeli bassist Yoni Zelnik and Donald Kontomanou, French drummer of Guinean and Greek heritage.  Sometimes known as the Modern Times Trio, the group re-examines shifting meanings of modernity in the course of its work.  The new album opens with Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo”, a composition written in 1930, and for Yonathan still very much up-to-the-minute. “Ellington is a thoroughly modern pianist and composer,” he muses. “His way of telling a story with his playing influenced me, and ‘Mood Indigo’ is a song I’ve loved for a long time.” In the original pieces that follow, Avishai makes reference to a broad range of musics. Uniting the different inspirational sources is a feeling that Yonathan is digging deep for the essential in his playing and writing. Ornamentation is rigorously trimmed; not a note is wasted here. Old values like swing and blues feeling still apply in Avishai’s forward-looking concept. The music keeps dancing in the spaces between phrases.


“I do feel very much rooted in the tradition. First of all I love history and the perspectives that study of it brings.  And I’m interested in all of jazz history, from Louis Armstrong to Cecil Taylor and beyond.” Asked to define the moment when he recognized the characteristics of his own style he replies, “I think it has to do with recognizing the things that you can’t do. I’m not only talking about skills but understanding the contexts in which your own voice is most expressive.  I saw at some point that I become more expressive with less notes. And when you listen to Lester Young or Louis Armstrong and you see how they can make you cry in eight bars….” It’s an economy to aspire to, he implies.


Born in Tel Aviv, Yonathan Avishai spent his early years in Japan, where his father was studying. “My parents were people concerned with art and culture and exposed me to a great deal of it in Japan. I saw a lot of kabuki plays, for instance, and became a real fan.  I feel the influence of this period stayed with me somehow, a sensitivity to a certain kind of aesthetics and energy – and although I don’t particularly like the word, a taste of ‘minimalism’ is part of my work, and perhaps that could be traced that back to kabuki.”  


Returning to Israel, Yonathan, as he puts it, “basically grew up alongside Avishai Cohen.” The pianist and trumpeter starting playing together at thirteen and have collaborated almost continuously ever since. “We went to the same school, lived in the same neighbourhood and went through very similar experiences in discovering jazz.”  In Yonathan’s case, the process was a kind of backwards journey – reversing through hiphop, funk and fusion to the core of the tradition.  His growing interest in jazz was supported by relatives in France, who would send cassette tapes to Israel: “Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington Trio, Count Basie, Bill Evans…Those were the first ones I heard and loved.”  There was encouragement also from the Israeli jazz community. “The jazz scene in Israel is great. It’s a tiny country, so very far from the United States, but there is something going on in the music. We had great teachers, passionate and knowledgeable people.”


In 2000, Yonathan relocated to France. Based for more than a decade in the Dordogne region of the south west, he moved closer to Paris a few years back, and promptly met up with Yoni Zelnik and Donald Kontomanou. “It was very quickly clear to me that I had the people I needed to go further with the music and this project.” Both players share Avishai’s open-minded creative approach. Drummer Kontomanou has latterly been playing in Laurent de Wilde’s New Monk Trio. Bassist Zelnik’s credits include work with the groups of pianist Florian Pellissier and drummer Fred Pasqua. He has also toured as a member of the Triveni trio with Avishai Cohen and Nasheet Waits.


Pieces on Joys and Solitudes take their genesis from many different places. “Les pianos de Brazzaville”, for instance, recalls two journeys made by Yonathan Avishai to the Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.


 “Tango” is a creative response to hearing Dino Saluzzi and Anja Lechner’s album Ojos Negros. “I listened to that recording non-stop for a month. My piece wasn’t an attempt to write a tango, but to capture some of the colour and flavour of the playing.”


 “When Things Fall Apart”, borrowing its title from the book by American Buddhist writer Pema Chödrön, is inspired by the music of Avishai Cohen. “It’s actually a direct response to Avishai’s composition ‘Into The Silence’.  Even though I’m part of Avishai’s band, and have participated in the shaping of the music, the way in which that piece develops is a little mysterious, and I like the emotional result.  Many of the things I write are melodically simple, and often in 4/4, but with ‘When Things Fall Apart’ I wanted to experiment with a longer form, with spaces for improvising, as Avishai often does.”


Joys and Solitudes was recorded at Lugano’s Auditiorio Stelio Molo RSI, in February 2018, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

Further ECM recordings with Yonathan Avishai, including a duo album with Avishai Cohen, are in preparation.





Joe Lovano

Trio Tapestry


Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone, tarogato, gongs

Marilyn Crispell: piano

Carmen Castaldi: drums, percussion


Release date: January 25, 2019

ECM 2615


CD UPC: 6025 6796426 1                            

LP UPC: 6025 7736190 6


Joe Lovano on tour 2019

Jan. 27th                      Buffalo, NY                             **Albright-Knox Gallery

Feb. 16th                      St. Catharines, ON                 Oscar Peterson Jazz Festival

Feb. 19th – 23rd            New York, NY                         Birdland (saxophone summit)

Mar. 1st                        Tucson, AZ                             Crowder Hall, U of Arizona

Mar. 8th                        Aliso Viejo, CA                        Soka University

Mar. 10th                      Albuquerque, NM                    ** Outpost Performance Space

Mar. 11th                      Santa Cruz, CA                       Kuumbwa Jazz Center

Mar. 12th – 13th            Seattle, WA                             ** Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley

Mar. 14th – 17th           San Francisco, CA                 ** SFJAZZ Miner Auditorium

Apr. 13th                      Austin, TX                               Bates Recital Hall                                   

** indicate Trio Tapestry performances


Joe Lovano, widely acknowledged as one of the great tenor saxophonists of our time, has been a presence on ECM since 1981, appearing on key recordings with Paul Motian, Steve Kuhn, John Abercrombie and Marc Johnson.  Trio Tapestry, introducing a new group with pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi is his first as a leader for the label.   An album of focused intensity and expressive beauty, it features a program of eleven new compositions that Joe calls “some of the most intimate and personal music I’ve recorded so far.”


The album, produced by Manfred Eicher at New York’s Sear Sound studio, draws upon Lovano’s history and development as a player who has addressed both jazz tradition and exploratory improvisation.  “For me this recording is a statement of where I am, where I’ve been and where I may be headed.” In a performer’s note in the CD booklet he says of the recording, “The divine timing of interplay and interaction is magical.  Trio Tapestry is a melodic, harmonic, rhythmic musical tapestry throughout, sustaining moods and atmospheres.”


Each of the pieces here flowers from a melodic core informed by twelve-tone processes, a methodology Lovano came to appreciate through his long association with composer Gunter Schuller.  “And working with Marilyn Crispell who also had lived in that world, having played a lot of contemporary composition and played extensively with Anthony Braxton and so on, we had a beautiful communication in that sound.”  If the colors and textures of the music invoke a chamber music ambience, the players themselves “are deeply rooted in jazz, sounding out each other’s feelings in the improvising, and making music within the music. I brought in the material and had an idea of what I wanted to happen, but in terms of how we play together, there is a very equal weight of contribution. We harmonise in this music in a really special way.”


Crispell and Lovano first crossed paths in the mid-1980s when the pianist was a member of Anthony Braxton’s quartet, with Gerry Hemingway and John Lindberg. “They happened to be recording in a studio next door to my loft in New York. We met then and stayed in touch.”   Around 2006 Joe sat in with Marilyn’s trio with Mark Helias and Paul Motian for a night at the Village Vanguard, which led to a concert as a quartet at New York’s Miller Theater, playing compositions by all four musicians.  “That was the first time I’d played a full concert with Marilyn.” The potential for further musical exploration was evident, fulfilled now by Trio Tapestry.


Carmen Castaldi and Joe Lovano have played together since their teenage years in Cleveland, and moved to Boston together to attend Berklee in 1971. In the mid-70s when Joe relocated to New York, Carmen headed to the West Coast where he was based for the next couple of decades. Since his return to Ohio, cooperation between the two friends has intensified.   Castaldi played on Joe’s Viva Caruso album on Blue Note and toured widely with Lovano’s Street Band, “playing a more ‘folk’ kind of music, with a different energy”, in a line-up including Judy Silvano, Gil Goldstein, Ed Schuller and Erik Friedlander. “Carmen is a wonderful free spirit on the drums, a total improviser, inspired by Paul Motian his whole life.  I was really happy to have him on this recording, which is more than ‘a session’ for me. It incorporates a way of playing and interacting that Carmen and I have developed together over very many years.”


Castaldi’s subtle drumming engages with the dialogues between saxophone and piano, detailing and adding commentary. A further textural element, augmenting the music’s sense of mystery, comes from Lovano’s use of gongs. “I started to develop that concept back in the 1980s, playing tenor saxophone and accompanying myself on gongs, having a mallet in my right hand to create different tonalities and different key centers from which to improvise.”


Over the last fifteen years, the soulful cry of the Hungarian tarogato has also found a place in Lovano’s music. It seems to lend itself to solemn or yearning meditations. Joe played tarogato on “The Spiritual” on Steve Kuhn’s Mostly Coltrane, for example. On Trio Tapestry it is featured on “Mystic”, declaiming over rumbling percussion.


Cecil Taylor once praised Marilyn Crispell for “spearheading a new lyricism” in creative music, and Lovano who hails the pianist for her “amazing sound, touch and vocabulary” is pleased to provide a context for her expressive voice here. Crispell, of course, has recorded for ECM  for more than twenty years to date, with a discography that includes trio albums with Paul Motian and Gary Peacock (Nothing Ever Was, Anyway and Amaryllis), a duo album with Peacock (Azure), the solo piano album Vignettes, and more.


Lovano’s  ECM leader debut with Trio Tapestry follows more than two decades as a Blue Note recording artist, with numerous releases in formats from duo (with Hank Jones, for instance) to large ensemble (the Grammy-winning 52nd Street Themes).


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.