Gidon Kremer has again recorded the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin of Bach and while his facility and technical grace are intact, in this recording he appears to have been deeply influenced by his time with the moderns (Adams, Pärt, Schnittke, Piazzola, Glass, et al). For this listener it seems that studying and performing these contemporary composers' manipulation of sound and instrumental scope has enriched Kremer's thought about the perfection of Bach. Not everyone will agree with Kremer's approach to these works on this new recording, but for those who know Bach's solo violin pieces there are pleasures in store. Remaining technically suave and with a luxuriant tone, Kremer seems to be communicating with the psychological Bach, offering different tempi and more soulful approaches than those of his colleagues. The results are mesmerizing. Highly recommended.
Trombonist Julian Priester, after playing with many different groups, including those of Sun Ra, Lionel Hampton, Dinah Washington, Max Roach, and Duke Ellington, was a member of the Herbie Hancock Sextet during 1970-1973. Hancock's intriguing ensemble went from funk to free blowing, and in its later period was experimenting with synthesizers. On Love, Love, Priester continues in that vein. The two lengthy improvisations are mostly on one-chord repetitive rhythmic vamps stated by the bass, featuring sound explorations and plenty of electronics. Only on the last half of the second medley does Priester himself emerge a bit from the electronic sounds. One is reminded of Bitches Brew, since that is an obvious influence, but also Hancock's group and Weather Report. The music develops slowly, but listeners with patience will enjoy the blending of the many different voices in this unusual musical stew.
Trio shares with many ECM albums the rapt, pensive, atmospheric, after-midnight aura for which producer Manfred Eicher is famous. But strikingly fresh are the moment-by-moment melodic epiphanies, the music's elusive implications of harmony and the tunes' flowing organic forms discovered by three equally important instruments.
Trio Mediaeval: Anna Maria Friman, Torunn Østrem Ossum, and Linn Andrea Fuglseth is a group of three women from Scandanavia (two from Norway, one originally from Sweden) – Anna Maria Friman, Torunn Østrem Ossum, and founder Linn Andrea Fuglseth – who specialize in singing late medieval polyphony and modern compositions in imitation of that style.
In his liner notes to this album, philosopher/novelist Umberto Eco talks about Gianluigi Trovesi and Gianni Coscia revisiting Kurt Weill "in a musical drowse dominated by an almost oneiric principle of contamination." As you do. In plain English, Eco is suggesting that Trovesi and Coscia have approached the music as if in an eclectic, stream of subconsciousness daydream, interweaving Weill's compositions with their own and those of other simpatico composers. And he's spot on. Trovesi and Coscia appear to be in deep free association mode here, employing intuition and impressionism rather than literal historical reconstruction to celebrate Weill's singular and enduring legacy.
Keith Jarrett returned to performing and recording solo concerts in 1995 with La Scala (released in 1997) after recovering from an illness. That fine recording followed his manner of working that he had begun on Köln Concert in 1975: That is, completely improvised concerts from beginning to end that had melodic and "motivic" centers. The double-disc set that is Radiance, recorded in Japan in 2002, is a new fork in the road. The work has no conceptual center. Jarrett says he wanted to let some of the music "happen" to him while he sat at the piano, deep in thought. He states: "I wanted my hands (particularly the left hand) to tell me things." And happen it does. Each piece, after the first one, comes out of the work that immediately precedes it.
Goodbye is one of, if not the most expansive and diverse collections pianist Bobo Stenson has ever released. This is his first ECM release in five years. Paul Motian takes over the drum chair vacated by Jon Christensen, and his shimmering, deep listening and subtlety add to the excellence and sheer quiet beauty of this recording. Goodbye is more a recording of songs than jazz pieces – at least in a traditional sense. This trio doesn't swing, they play, they slowly dance through the lyric pieces found here.
What must be heard by contemporary jazz generalists as a typical ECM type European music creation, pianist Christian Wallumrod has conjured up a nomadic series of themes that touch on various strains of ethnic music. Echoes of classical and chamber musics, and Manfred Eicher's brand of tonally reserved, emotionally balanced, and coolly rendered sounds provide a rich but predictable musical palette. The title A Year from Easter might suggest many themes of hope, looking forward, sudden dismay, prayers for peace and justice, and post-distress emergence.
These three young Poles are known to ECM listeners worldwide for their sensitive playing in the Tomasz Stanko Quartet. In their homeland, however, they are also have a strong reputation as an autonomous group. Their first international release shows why. With a wide-open repertoire that intersperses original material with interpretations of pieces by Bjork, Wayne Shorter and Szymanowski, Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz bring something new to the piano trio tradition.