The Norwegian jazz composer and guitarist Terje Rypdal's homage to Miles Davis's BITCHES BREW has all the crepuscular electric piano and muted trumpet of the original, with the addition of the atonal "That's More Like It" and the menacing electronic underpinnings of "Jungeltegrafen" emphasizing the continuing influence of contemporary musical genres on jazz.
This relatively early set from Bill Frisell is a fine showcase for the utterly unique guitarist. Frisell has the ability to play nearly any extroverted style of music and his humor (check out the date's "Music I Heard") is rarely far below the surface. This particular quintet (with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, tuba player Bob Stewart, electric bassist Jerome Harris and drummer Paul Motian) is not exactly short of original personalities and their outing (featuring seven Frisell compositions) is one of the most lively of all the ones in the ECM catalog.
This reissue of Fusion and Thesis, the two albums the new Jimmy Giuffre 3 made in 1961, prior to their breakthrough and breakup in 1962, is nothing short of a revelation musically. Originally produced by Creed Taylor, who was still respectable back then, the two LPs have been complete remixed and remastered by ECM proprietor and chief producer Manfred Eicher and Jean Philippe Allard and contain complete material from both sessions resulting in one new track on Fusion and three more on Thesis.
Arild Andersen found one of his clearest avenues of expression with Masqualero, a group that brought him notably together with trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, saxophonist Tore Brunborg, and drummer Jon Christensen. On Aero, the group’s second album for ECM, he is joined also by Frode Alnaes, whose looming drones ebb and flow throughout the title opener, which seems to materialize out of nothing into a looming figure of delicate comportment and elegant mind. It is this figure whose footsteps Andersen articulates. In “Science” this figure shows us it can dance, fashioning a partner out of snatches of rain and cloud, autumn and snowdrift. The confidence of that stride is expressed in the superb dynamic contrasts of the band, only to be unraveled through Brunborg’s platonic soprano into a sonorous vulnerability.
Three years after leading Aero, Arild Andersen’s Masqualero outfit—by now a quartet with Jon Christensen on drums, Tore Brunborg on saxophones, and Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet—returned to ECM’s Rainbow Studio with a solid follow-up. On this outing the band seems most comfortable in its shoes, and uses that confidence to travel more abstract avenues of expression. The strident opening statement in the title cut is a case in point, for its conventions quickly slide down a banister of drums into a groovy bass line, mere preamble to some wild conversation between Molv?r and Brunborg, who rock that fulcrum with unrelenting conviction.
Though in step with its time, this release suffers from excessive reliance on ambient synthesizers, which litter much of the recording, rendering it only slightly more interesting than many of the Windham Hill new age recordings of the same era. Unfortunate, because the disc opens with strength and gradually peters out by the end. The disc opens with "He Came From the North," which features a melody based on a traditional Lapp joik from the artist's native Norway and progresses into a longer section with an interplay that is both sparse and rhythmic. The sax line here is astonishingly beautiful. The second piece, "Alchuri, the Song Man," a sax and percussion piece, is energetic and lively as well. And from here the energy gradually diminishes. Much can be attributed to popular styles of the time, but this release simply does not stand up to other music of its genre that came later.
Since founded in 1969 by Manfred Eicher, ECM Records (Edition of Contemporary Music) have released more than 1200 albums in a catalogue that boasts some of the most important artists of the last fifty years. Eicher’s talent for spotting the right artists to record for his label, and the quality of the finished product in terms of recording, production and artwork have transcended the labels initial reputation of having the ‘ECM sound’ to being acknowledged as producing music of exceptional quality in terms of both performance and recorded sound.
A thunderous recording by saxophonist Liebman from the year 1974. Here the American saxophonist - and friends Abercrombie and Beirach - are flanked by no less than eight drummers and percussionists. To listen to 'Drum Ode' is to swim in waves of rhythms, cross-rhythms, polyrhythms, to be carried along by tidal beats. At the time when he made 'Drum Ode', Liebman was playing with the Miles Davis Group in its most electric/tribal groove period, and Miles's influence is clearly discernible here.
In addition to his solo piano concerts and the American group he led that featured tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, Keith Jarrett was also busy in the mid-'70s with his European band, a quartet comprised of Jan Garbarek on tenor and soprano, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen. Due to the popularity of the haunting "My Song," this album is the best known of the Jarrett-Garbarek collaborations and it actually is their most rewarding meeting on record. Jarrett contributed all six compositions and the results are relaxed and introspective yet full of inner tension.