Since they started in the early 1970’s, ECM has been giving the world one excellent jazz piano disc after another–significant names include Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Paul Bley, more recently Anat Fort, Bo Stenson, and now Julia Hulsmann. Leading a trio on her ECM debut, THE END OF SUMMER, Hulsman displays a graceful, muted, and melancholy air. In the manner of Stenson and Bley, Hulsmann expresses maximum emotion and mood using the fewest (but well-placed) notes. Unlike the aforementioned gentlemen however, Hulsmann favors almost folk-like, affable, and concise melodies. Her bassist and drummer seem subdued at times, but they’re constantly lending the tunes a sense of forward motion.