Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick opts for a different approach on Midwest. Four years after the song-like Skala, his sophomore ECM date that has attained "classic" status in European critical circles, he employs notions of history, folk tradition, and dislocation. This album was inspired by Eick's time spent playing the American continent; his tour began on the West Coast. When he entered the rural, upper Midwest and encountered its vast open spaces, he began to feel a sense of "home." He later learned that over the past two centuries of immigration, over a million Norwegians had settled there. After conceiving a "road" album that would begin in Hem, the village of his birth, and traverse the ocean to America, Eick enlisted violinist Gjermund Larsen (a folk musician who has contributed to Christian Wallumrød's ECM recordings), pianist Jon Balke, double bassist Mats Eilertsen, and percussionist Helge Norbakken. The compositions are all lyrical, in typical Eick fashion, but with Larsen they take on a rougher, more earthen quality.
Mathias Eick’s intensely melodic trumpet occupies the centre-stage in this album of self-penned tunes which will appeal to an audience beyond “jazz”. Against the powerful backdrops offered by his sleek, modern band, driven by two drummers, he delivers richly lyrical soliloquies. Although regarded as a 'jazz' album by virtue of its instrumentation (trumpet, saxophone, rhythm section, plus occasional harp and keyboards), trumpeter Mathias Eick 's second ECM recording as leader is as likely to draw inspiration for his fluent, accessible compositions from pop and classical music as from jazz.
A specially-price limited edition compilation of Manu Katché on ECM. Here the French drummer is joined in performances of his tunes by an outstanding cast of soloists including Jan Garbarek, Tomasz Stanko, Nils Petter Molvӕr, Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick, Marcin Wasilewski, Tore Brunborg, and Jacob Young. Recorded 2004 -2012 in Oslo, New York and Pernes-les-Fontaines, and drawn from his widely acclaimed albums: Neighborhood (ECM1896), Playground (ECM 2016), Third Round (ECM 2156), Manu Katché (ECM 2284)
The listener may be forgiven for not knowing that any Debussy "Edgar Allan Poe Operas" existed, for neither of the works recorded here was ever completed. Moreover, and you don't learn this unless you read the notes or have investigated for yourself, one of them was hardly begun. After the success of Pelléas et Mélisande in New York, Debussy was encouraged to adapt a pair of Poe's short stories for a new American production. Debussy needed little encouragement and quickly produced a pair of scenarios, but other projects intervened, and the operas were never finished. The more complete one is La chute de la maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher), for which there are substantial sketches and several full realizations including the one here by "creative musicologist" Robert Orledge.