Search results for: ECM
Comments Off on Vijay Iyer & Craig Taborn – The Transitory Poems (ECM) CD
Pianists Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn, two of creative music’s most resourceful players and two of its most distinctive improvisers, learned to meld and mesh their artistic approaches inside Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory ensemble in 2002.
Since then, Iyer and Taborn have continued to play concerts together. The Transitory Poems, recorded live at the Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest, in March 2018, is their first duo album. A marvel of shared invention, it incorporates pieces offered as tributes to formative influences including pianists Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams and Geri Allen, and the painter and sculptor Jack Whitten.
Iyer and Taborn’s first shared ECM credit was the 2007 Roscoe Mitchell album Far Side (recently reprised in the box set The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles) but each has a considerable body of acclaimed recordings made for the label over the past decade.
Personnel: Vijay Iyer (piano); Craig Taborn (piano)
Life Line (seven tensions)
Meshwork/Libation (When Kabuya Dances)
Comments Off on David Torn, Tim Berne, Ches Smith – Sun Of Goldfinger (ECM) CD
Guitarist-composer David Torn, a longstanding ECM artist, has enjoyed a particularly fruitful 21st-century with the label, releasing two albums under his own name – the solo ‘only sky’ and quartet disc ‘Prezens’ – in addition to producing records by Tim Berne and Michael Formanek.
With Sun of Goldfinger, Torn returns in a trio alongside the alto saxophonist Berne and percussionist Ches Smith (a member of Berne’s Snakeoil band who made his ECM leader debut in 2016 with The Bell). The Torn/Berne/Smith trio, also dubbed Sun of Goldfinger, features alone on two of this album’s three intense tracks of 20-plus minutes; the vast sonic tapestries of “Eye Muddle” and “Soften the Blow” – each spontaneous group compositions – belie the fact that only a trio is weaving them, with live electronics by Torn and Smith expanding the aural envelope.
The third track, the Torn composition “Spartan, Before It Hit,” showcases an extended ensemble with two extra guitars (played by Mike Baggetta and Ryan Ferreira), keyboards (Craig Taborn) and a string quartet (the Scorchio String Quartet); it’s an otherworldly creation, ranging from hovering atmospherics to dark-hued lyricism to storming, sky-rending grandeur.
The words of LondonJazz, reviewing Sun of Goldfinger live, also suit the band’s debut on record: “This is dangerous music – at times angry, at others blissedout and illuminating – with its thunderous rumblings… delivering not so much a wash of sound, more a tidal wave.”
Personnel: David Torn (electric guitar, live looping, electronics), Tim Berne (alto saxophone), Ches Smith (drums, electronics, tanbou)
Eye Meddle / Spartan, Before It Hit / Soften The Blow
Comments Off on Dominic Miller – Absinthe (ECM) CD / LP
With Absinthe, his second release for ECM, guitarist Dominic Miller has created an album coloured by a distinct atmosphere. “The first thing that came to me before I wrote any tunes was the title,” he says. “Living in the South of France, I am fascinated by Impressionism. Sharp light and witchy mistrals, combined with strong alcohol and intense hangovers must have
driven some of these artists toward insanity. Skies that are green, faces blue, perspective distorted.”
While Miller’s ECM debut, Silent Light, emphasized intimacy in solo and duo settings, Absinthe finds the guitarist fronting a quintet that brings his everlyrical compositions to textured life. Miller, switching between nylon- and steelstring acoustic guitars, has a key harmonic-melodic foil in the bandoneon of Santiago Arias.
The vivid presence at the drum kit is Manu Katche, an ECM veteran and for years a colleague with Miller in the band of Sting (whom the guitarist has accompanied now for three decades). Mike Lindup’s keyboard tones add a ghostly air to such highlights as the title track, while bassist Nicholas Fiszman roots the sound.
As for Miller, JazzTimes described him as a guitarist who “milks every note, thriving on the pauses between them and whispery effects of fingers sliding across strings,” while Stereophile agreed, declaring that “his ability to express emotion through a guitar is amazing to hear.”
Personnel: Dominic Miller (guitar), Santiago Arias (bandoneon), Mike Lindup
(keyboards), Nicolas Fiszman (bass), Manu Katche (drums)
Absinthe / Mixed Blessing / Verveine / La Petite Reine / Christiania /
tude / Bicycle / Ombu / Tenebres / Saint Vincent
ECM CD: 6788468
Comments Off on Giovanni Guidi – Avec Le Temps (ECM) CD
Giovanni Guidi is one of the most consistently creative pianists in Europe today, focussing inspirations from contemporary jazz and free playing in a strongly lyrical approach of his own.
Guidi’s core trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joao Lobo opens ‘Avec le temps’ with a deeply-felt interpretation of the title track, the song of love and loss by the Monaco-born poet-composer-chansonnier Leo Ferre, and closes the album with “Tomasz”, a Guidi original dedicated to the late Tomasz Stanko, take Giovanni’s conception of the art of the trio to the next level, extending the work begun on the critically-praised albums City of Broken Dreams and This Is The Day.
In between, the band swells to quintet size, with saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti and guitarist Roberto Cecchetto contributing to Guidi originals and group improvising in a programme of strikingly contrasting energies and colours, with outstanding playing by all participants. ‘Avec le temps’ was recorded at Studios La Buissonne in November 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher.
Giovanni Guidi: piano;
Francesco Bearzatti: tenor saxophone;
Roberto Cecchetto: guitar;
Thomas Morgan: double bass;
Joao Lobo: drums
Avec Le Temps / 15th of August / Postludium And A Kiss / No Taxi / Caino / Johnny The Liar / Ti stimo / Tomasz
Comments Off on Larry Grenadier – The Gleaners (ECM) CD / LP
Over the decades, ECM has released a line of inventive albums showcasing solo double bass by such virtuosos of the instrument as Dave Holland, Barre Phillips and Miroslav Vitous. Now the label presents The Gleaners, the first album of solo bass by Larry Grenadier, one of the most admired, accomplished bassists working in jazz today.
It is a profound and highly creative album, harvesting influences from many sources, its title inspired by Agnes Varda’s film ‘The Gleaners and I’. In between his own pieces here, including a dedication to early hero Oscar Pettiford, Grenadier explores compositions by George Gershwin, John Coltrane, Paul Motian, Rebecca Martin and Wolfgang Muthspiel.
“The process for making this record began with a look inward,” Larry writes in his liner note, “an excavation into the core elements of who I am as a bass player. It was a search for a centre of sound and timbre, for the threads of harmony and rhythm that formulate the crux of a musical identity.” The result is an important addition to ECM’s series of distinguished solo bass
albums. The Gleaners, which is available on both CD and 180g vinyl, was recorded at New York’s Avatar Studios in December 2016 and produced by Manfred Eicher.
Oceanic / Pettiford / The Gleaner / Woebegone / Gone Like the Season Does / Compassion/The Owl of Cranston / Vineland / Lovelair / Bagatelle 1 / Bagatelle 2 / My Man’s Gone Now / A Novel In a Sigh
ECM CD 6757841 / LP 7706422
Comments Off on Tim Berne’s Snakeoil – Shadow Man (ECM) CD
Acclaim for the first, eponymous album from saxophonist-composer Tim Berne’s acoustic quartet Snakeoil came from far and wide: All About Jazz described the music as “unpredictable and fresh,” while The Guardian called it “an object lesson in balancing composition, improvisation and the tonal resources of an acoustic band.” The album made the DownBeat critic’s poll of the top 10 best releases of 2012, New York Times critic Nate Chinen listed it as his No. 1 release of the year, and Jazzwise underscored the stature of Snakeoil by declaring it to be “suffused with genuine humanity and more than a little wisdom.” Stoked by this reception, Berne’s Snakeoil has upped the ante with its second ECM release, Shadow Man. Over four years together, Berne and his band of New York standouts – pianist Matt Mitchell, clarinettist Oscar Noriega and drummer/percussionist Ches Smith – have developed a rapport that sounds like communal telepathy. The studio outcome is a marvel of kinetic action, the six pieces of Shadow Man making for music as visceral as it is cerebral; there is rollercoaster dynamism and aching lyricism, roiling counterpoint and intriguing harmony, glinting detail and ensemble impact. The album is a dizzying experience for the senses, breathtaking – and, ultimately, moving – in its sheer imaginative verve.
Tim Berne Alto Saxophone
Oscar Noriega Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Matt Mitchell Piano, Tack Piano, Wurlitzer Piano
Ches Smith Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone
1 SON OF NOT SO SURE
6 CORNERED (DUCK)
ECM 2339 / 3747708
Comments Off on Thomas Strønen, Time Is A Blind Guide – Lucus (ECM) CD
Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen presents a revised edition of his acoustic collective Time Is A Blind Guide, now trimmed to quintet size, and with a new pianist in Wakayama-born Ayumi Tanaka. Tanaka has spoken of seeking associative connections between Japan and Norway in her improvising, a tendency Strønen seems to be encouraging with his space-conscious writing for the ensemble, letting in more light. As on the group’s eponymously-titled and critically-lauded debut album there are excellent contributions from the string players – the quintet effectively contains both a string trio and a piano trio – and Manfred Eicher’s production brings out all the fine detail in the grain of the collective sound and the halo of its overtones, captured in the famously-responsive acoustic of Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in March 2017.
Thomas Strønen Drums
Ayumi Tanaka Piano
Håkon Aase Violin
Lucy Railton Violoncello
Ole Morten Vågan Double Bass
1 LA BELLA
5 FUGITIVE PLACES
9 TRUTH GROWS GRADUALLY
ECM 2576 / 5779058
Comments Off on Billy Hart, Ethan Iverson, Mark Turner, Ben Street – All Our Reasons (ECM) CD
First ECM recording of a quartet formed in 2003. Originally billed as the Ethan Iverson-Mark Turner Quartet, it soon became the Billy Hart Quartet, and under this name has played shows to packed houses each year in New York City. The group’s first album for hard-bop label High Note in 2005 figured on many critics’ best-of-the year list. Since then, the ensemble’s music has gotten more free and spacious, a sensibility that aligns perfectly with ECM. While drummer Hart’s swinging beat and delicate cymbal tracery have previously been heard on the label behind Charles Lloyd and Bennie Maupin, and tenorist Mark Turner has appeared on acclaimed recording with the Fly Trio and Enrico Rava, “All Our Reasons” is a label debut for Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street. Hart, Iverson and Turner all contribute material, which includes modern blues, a Coltrane tribute and an Iverson-penned homage to Paul Bley, the wonderfully-titled “Nostalgia for the Impossible”.
Billy Hart Drums
Ethan Iverson Piano
Mark Turner Tenor Saxophone
Ben Street Double-Bass
1 SONG FOR BALKIS
3 TOLLI’S DANCE
4 NOSTALGIA FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE
8 OLD WOOD
9 IMKE’S MARCH
ECM 2248 / 2786631
Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, John Parricelli, Chris Laurence, Martin France – Songs For Quintet (ECM) CD
Comments Off on Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, John Parricelli, Chris Laurence, Martin France – Songs For Quintet (ECM) CD
Kenny Wheeler (1930-2014) was an unassuming giant of modern jazz, a daring improviser, and a writer of many beautiful and slyly unorthodox tunes. His recorded legacy includes albums now regarded as contemporary jazz classics such as Gnu High, Deer Wan, and Music For Large And Small Ensembles. In December 2013 he recorded what was to be his last album. Songs for Quintet, an inspirational session featuring Wheeler compositions of recent vintage (plus a fresh approach to “Nonetheless”, first heard on Angel Song), was recorded in London’s Abbey Road Studio with four of Kenny’s favourite players. Stan Sulzmann, John Parricelli, Chris Laurence and Martin France work together marvellously as an interactive unit, solo persuasively, and provide support for the tender and lyrical flugelhorn of the bandleader. Songs for Quintet is issued on January 14, 2015, which would have been Kenny Wheeler’s 85th birthday.
Kenny Wheeler Flugelhorn
Stan Sulzmann Tenor Saxophone
John Parricelli Guitar
Chris Laurence Double Bass
Martin France Drums
3 THE LONG WAITING
4 CANTER NO. 1
5 SLY EYES
7 OLD TIME
8 PRETTY LIDDLE WALTZ
ECM 2388 / 4704653
Comments Off on Trygve Seim, Tora Augestad, Frode Haltli, Svante Henryson – Rumi Songs (ECM) CD
Norwegian saxophonist Trygve Seim sets the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), using the inspired contemporary English-language versions of Coleman Barks and Kabir Helminski as his source texts. Trygve responds both to the musicality of the translations and to Rumi’s gifts as a storyteller and with Rumi Songs seems to have invented a new kind of Lieder with a Nordic-Oriental orientation. The line-up is strikingly unorthodox, with each of the quartet members bringing their own musical personalities to the material. Classical mezzo-soprano Tora Augestad is well-known as the leader of her own ensemble Music For A While, and for her numerous music-theatre collaborations with Christoph Mathaler. She finds an intimate tone to convey Rumi’s thoughts, underlined by the elegant arrangements and the improvisational input of Seim, Haltli and Henryson.
Trygve Seim Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Tora Augestad Vocal
Frode Haltli Accordion
Svante Henryson Violoncello
1 IN YOUR BEAUTY
2 SEEING DOUBLE
3 ACROSS THE DOORSILL
4 THE GUEST HOUSE
5 LEAVING MY SELF
6 WHEN I SEE YOUR FACE
7 LIKE EVERY OTHER DAY
8 THE DRUNK AND THE MADMAN
9 WHIRLING RHYTHMS
10 THERE IS SOME KISS WE WANT
ECM 2449 / 4732253