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.
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.
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.
Thus beginns the medieval ballad, from whence Swedish folk music group Svanevit gets its name. The tale of Sven Svanevit takes place during the Middle Ages. In a world full of magic, mythical creatures and shining knights, Sven Svanevit rides towards adventure. The tale of the Swedish folk music group Svanevit takes place in the here and now. It begins with four eminent Swedish folk musicians and their music. What they create is both new and modern and at the same time retrospective, drawing inspiration from the past. Each and every element of the music is filled with an anticipation and narrative zest that allows the tale to continue giving the sounds, magic and legends a chance to live on in our time. The tale continues – listen and let the myth live!
From Norwegian folk singer and harpist Sinikka Langeland comes a seductively subtle contemporary jazz album. The lyrics are all Norwegian or Swedish (the sleeve notes have translations), and celebrate the poetry of Edith Södergran and Olav Håkonson Hauge – the first a shortlived pioneer of modern Swedish poetry, the second the Norwegian "lumberjack poet" who came to the art in his 40s. Langeland's band brings together trumpet-player Arve Henriksen and saxophonist/composer Trygve Seim, and it's a magical combination. Despite a predominant feeling of tranquillity, the singer sometimes adds an almost Nina Simone-like bite, for which Seim's smoky sound, Henriksen's ghostly multiphonics and Anders Jormin's bass are ideal foils. The mood is often broken by grooves that suggest some strange fjord-village cabaret music, or episodes that are like Nordic Miles Davis. It's a real one-off.
Enjoy three A-list players teaming up to celebrate the sorties into the wilder reaches of jazz-rock made by Tony Williams’s band, Lifetime. John Scofield is at his bluesy best vying with the versatile Hammond of Larry Goldings, Jack DeJohnette on drums is a precise mix of grace and fire.