Italian pianist and composer Stefano Battaglia has recorded three previous offerings for ECM, all in different settings. Interestingly, The River of Anyder is his first to feature his trio, with bassist Salvatore Maiore and drummer/percussionist Roberto Dani. Battaglia, formerly a classical pianist, approaches composition and improvisation from that vantage point. When he does enter the jazz realm, it is through Italy's own grand jazz tradition from the '70s era on.
First recorded collaboration between one of the leading sopranos of our time, Juliane Banse, and the incomparable pianist András Schiff. The programme is a fascinating combination of two different worlds of 'Liedgesang' - in language as well as musical style and historicity.
The third ECM album by the trio of Great British jazz singer Norma Winstone, Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German clarinetist / saxophonist Klaus Gesing was recorded in December 2012 at Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano, with Manfred Eicher as producer. Dance Without Answer pools material from diverse sources. Alongside the striking self-penned songs, there are pieces by idiosyncratic singer/songwriters Fred Neil, Nick Drake and Tom Waits, as well as tunes associated with the cinema, with contemporary pop, with a children’s television show and more.
Innovative Tunisian oud virtuoso Anouar Brahem presents this highly-acclaimed album of typically Middle Eastern music, recorded in 1999 with a trio that had been his first priority for several years. The improvisational exchanges between Brahem, clarinettist Barbaros Erköse and percussionist Lassad Hosni are exceptionally fluid and the atmospheres they create here are by turns mysterious, hypnotic and dramatic.
Stefano Battaglia plays both piano and prepared piano (sometimes simultaneously) in a highly attractive double-album programme that includes his own compositions and spontaneous improvisations as well as two versions of the Arabic traditional song “Lamma Bada Yatathanna”. The melodic and texturally-inventive pieces, some of almost hypnotic allure, were recorded both in concert and in “closed doors” sessions at the Fazoli Concert Hall in Sacile, Italy, in May 2016, and subsequently arranged into what Battaglia describes as “a wonderful new shape with a completely new dramaturgy” by producer Manfred Eicher.
A grande dame of British jazz, Norma Winstone may be approaching her 70th birthday but the east London-born vocalist shows no signs of fading into well-earned retirement just yet. Indeed, the former Azimuth figurehead and veteran collaborator with everyone from pianists John Taylor and Mike Westbrook to Ian Carr and Kenny Wheeler, has made some of the best received albums of her lengthy career during the last decade; not least 2008’s Distances, which garnered a Grammy nomination and a clutch of European jazz awards.
At the time of this recording, New Zealand's Mike Nock was one of the great, unsung pianists in European stlyed jazz. His elegant phrasing and wildly inventive melodicism fly in the face of all notions that claim improvisation must be outside Western musical parameters and structures. On Ondas, Nock has assembled a rhythm section that, while never having played together before shared the ability to create the bedrock, however flexible, for the artist's crystalline compositions and solos. Eddie Gomez was a wise choice for this session because of his experience with Bill Evans, who is an obvious influence on Nock's own composing — as is Keith Jarrett. His pizzicato flourishes and shifting timbres on "Forgotten Love" and "Visionary," while retaining an elemental sense of meter, are remarkable.
Bassist Dave Holland leads one of his most stimulating groups on this superlative quintet date. With the young Steve Coleman on alto and flute, trumpet great Kenny Wheeler, trombonist Julian Priester, and drummer Steve Ellington in the band, Holland had a particularly creative group of musicians in which to interpret and stretch out his six originals; Coleman also contributed one composition. This set, which has plenty of variety in moods, tone, colors, and styles, is one of Holland's better recordings.
Pat Metheny emerges on his second album, Watercolors, as an ECM impressionist, generally conforming to the label's overall sound while still asserting his own personality. As the title suggests, there are several mood pieces here that are suspended in the air without rhythmic underpinning, a harbinger for the new age invasion still in the future. Metheny's softly focused, asymmetrical guitar style, with echoes of apparent influences as disparate as Jim Hall, George Benson, Jerry Garcia, and various country guitarists, is quite distinctive even at this early juncture.