Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has recorded Bach before, on both piano and harpsichord. His interpretations are not jazz versions of Bach but are played straight. In this case you might say relatively straight, for Bach's sonatas for violin and keyboard, BWV 1014-1019, were written for a harpsichord and are generally played that way; somehow the ear is jarred more by the piano here than in Bach's solo keyboard music (which Jarrett has also recorded). Jarrett fans will find the evidence of his characteristic style not in rhythmic inflections toward jazz but in his way of sustaining notes, which is never excessive.
Polish composer and trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's career has been long and varied – from working with the legendary Krzysztof Komeda in the 1950s and '60s, to his own work that ranges form hard bop to electronic improvisation. A wonderful illustration of that principle is his association with Manfred Eicher's ECM label. This volume, in the excellent Rarum series, begins with Stanko's first date as a leader for ECM in 1975 on the album Balladyna. There are two selections from the set highlighting what was well-known at the time as his radical "predatory lyricism" method of composition and soloing.
This is Keith Jarrett's most accomplished collection of classical compositions yet, seated squarely in the American East Coast neo-classical tradition of Samuel Barber, David Diamond, Irving Fine, etc. Jarrett's writing for strings is masterful here; the lines move and interweave instead of being shoveled on as in some pieces of the '70s, and the compositions have shape and direction. Most of all, they share a common feeling of reflection and an unabashed willingness to let the instrumental soloists sing.
Two of vibraphonist Gary Burton's albums from 1969-1970 are reissued in full on this single CD. Burton teams up with pianist Keith Jarrett for five numbers (including four of Jarrett's originals) in 1970, using a quintet that also features guitarist Sam Brown, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bill Goodwin. The other session has more of an avant-country flavor, with Burton, Swallow, and Goodwin joined by guitarist Jerry Hahn and violinist Richard Greene; Michael Gibbs and Swallow contributed most of the obscurities. Burton was at his most explorative during this period, which is why he can be considered one of the pioneers of fusion (although his music never really fit into a tight category). This is excellent music that mostly still sounds fresh.
Ever-adventurous pianist Marilyn Crispell in quietly exploratory improvised duets with clarinetist David Rothenberg (in his ECM debut). Rothenberg studied with Jimmy Giuffre and Joe Maneri, amongst others, is active as player-composer and also well known as an author and naturalist, his books including “Why Birds Sing” and “Thousand Mile Song” (an investigation of the music of whales), and the titles here reflect also on the natural world. Tracks include “The Hawk and the Mouse”, “Owl Moon” and “Still Life with Woodpeckers”. (Source: ecmrecords.com)
As with a handsome, persuasive architectural plan, this suite of pieces is far from haphazard in its design. The web of associations and connections which have led Michelle Makarski to bring them together is the key to the whole enterprise. Italy is, of course, the common ground, but not the Italy of Rossini and Bellini, nor even of Verdi and Puccini, but rather of Tartini, the true spiritual inheritor of the intellectual musical tradition of the Florentine Camerata. Dallapiccola, Petrassi and Berio are all 20th century avatars of this same tradition, while the Americans Carter and Rochberg, both of them having close personal ties to these three, spent crucial formative time in Italy, absorbing the purity and elegance of its art and culture. The final piece on the program, the anonymous 14th century Lamento di Tristano, is one of the earliest surviving pieces of Italian instrumental music, an unassuming yet highly moving forerunner of the whole corpus of italian music. It is - to return to the architectural analogy - a small, ancient garden now standing in the shade of the villa erected alongside it.from the CD booklet