On this 2001 album, Norwegian pianist/composer/producer Bugge Wesseltoft further refines his concept of 'the new conception of jazz'. Having started out playing stereotypically Nordic ECM-style jazz, Bugge (pronounced 'Boogie') formed the jazzland label and brought out several records in a new, experimental jazz style that fused elements of electronic music with traditional jazz instrumentation to excellent effect.
"Aquarela do Brasil," an unofficial anthem of Brazil, may have received literally thousands of different version and interpretations, but even then, Egberto and Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos (his sole accompanist here) were able to devise an extremely original version, which opens with an unassuming stylized samba introduction, slowly bringing elements which conduce the listener to the piece's identification. Egberto is very fond of percussive attacks and ethereal configurations, both acquiring superior importance in his music, not being necessarily attached to or supportive for a musical theme or melody.
Inspired by his time spent with the Xingu Indians of the Amazon, to whom the album is also dedicated, Sol Do Meio Dia (Midday Sun) is a consistently intriguing transitional album from multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti. With him are percussionists Nana Vasconcelos and Collin Walcott and guitarist Ralph Towner, as well as Jan Garbarek on soprano saxophone for a brief spell. At this point in his career, Gismonti was beginning to fill in the porous sound of his 8-string guitar. To this end, Vasconcelos and Walcott flesh out much of the dizzying rhythmic space that defines his sound, while Towner’s 12-string laces the background with more explicit chording. Walcott traces magical circles in “Raga,” for which Gismonti engages us with nimble fingerwork on the guitar’s highest harmonics.
Keyboardist Craig Taborn’s Daylight Ghosts is his third ECM release as a leader, a quartet album following acclaimed solo and trio recordings. In addition to Taborn on piano and electronic keyboards and drummer Dave King, the quartet features two New York jazz luminaries, reed player Chris Speed and bassist Chris Lightcap. Each member draws from a broad artistic background, as informed by rock, electronica and diverse strains of world music as by the various permutations of jazz improvisation. Daylight Ghosts is animated by dynamism and spectral ambience, acoustic and electric sounds and groove and lingering melody.
Berlin-based pianist Julia Hülsmann returns to the trio format for Sooner And Later, an album which distils the experience of journeys to distant destinations. In the last couple of years Hülsmann, bassist Marc Muellbauer and drummer Heinrich Köbberling have taken their music around the world, from Europe to the US, Canada, Peru, Central Asia and China, “where something special developed. It helped to open up new sonic territory for us”
Keith Jarrett's first solo acoustic piano recording remains one of his best. At this point in late 1971, Jarrett had just started improvising completely freely. That does not mean that his solos were necessarily atonal but simply that they were not planned in any way in advance. The music on these eight improvisations are often quite melodic, very rhythmic and bluesy. This set makes for a perfect introduction to Jarrett's many solo piano recordings.
“The Bregenz/Munich concerts were Jarrett’s most brilliant live solo recordings to date; his level of inspiration is quite extraordinary, and the music covers a wider musical and emotional range than ever.” – Jarrett biographer Ian Carr
With saxophonist Jan Garbarek and bassist Charlie Haden along for the ride, Keith Jarrett indulges in three slow, rambling, meditative, vaguely neo-classical concertos for piano and string orchestra. While a few of Jarrett's and Garbarek's passages here and there have a syncopated jazz feeling, this is mostly contemporary classical music, perhaps even somewhat ahead of its time (it might fit in with the neo-Romantic and minimalist camps today). However, although this music can be attractive in small doses, the lack of tempo or texture contrasts over long stretches of time – particularly the nearly 28-minute "Mirrors" – can be annoying if you're not in the right blissful mood. Mladen Gutesha and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra perform the string parts with what can only be described as commendable patience.