Encore is a companion volume to Résumé the widely-praised solo album issued in 2011. Eberhard Weber returns once more to the many live recordings of his tenure with the Jan Garbarek Group, isolating his bass solos and reworking them into new pieces with the addition of his own keyboard parts. “I became what you might call a composer of New Music,” says Weber, “with the proviso that I make use of old things.”This season’s special guest is veteran Dutch flugelhorn player Ack van Rooyen.
This recording, from 1985, presents bandoneon master Dino Saluzzi in a small-group setting, accompanied by some of the finest musicians in the ECM roster: Palle Mikkelborg (trumpet and flugelhorn), Charlie Haden (bass) and Pierre Favre (percussion). As usual with ECM releases, the recording is crystalline - their audio standards have always set the highest standards for sound reproduction, clear and pristine. It puts the listener right into the room with the players.
The half-finished heaven is the fourth ECM album from Sinikka Langeland, the kantele player, singer and composer from Finnskogen, south-eastern Norway’s “Forest of the Finns”. The music she has written for the ensemble here touches on, as she says, her “whole scale of expression”. Sinnika’s highly original and self-contained oeuvre is informed, in changing degree, by folk traditions of Norway and Finland, as well as classical and contemporary music and improvisation from jazz and other sources. Each of her gifted bandmates brings his own range of colours to the music.
Three important pieces of music, loosely linked by the programmatic theme of "exile" are addressed by Camerata Bern under the direction of Thomas Zehetmair. "Verklärte Nacht" is the second ECM New Series appearance for the distinguished ensemble, who previously recorded music of Sándor Veress for the label. Here, too, Veress's attractive "Transylvanian Dances bridge compositions by two of the great architects of modern music, Arnold Schönberg and Béla Bartók.
Ketil Bjørnstad previously explored the life of Edvard Munch in his acclaimed 1993 novel Historien om Edvard Munch. When invited to compose music for choir in 2011 his thoughts turned once again to Munch and to the writings, still not widely known, of the proto-Expressionist Norwegian painter. With these as his guide, Bjørnstad shaped Soloppgang (“Sunrise”) subtitled “A cantata on texts by Edvard Munch”. In his liner notes, Bjørnstad observes that “the texts written by Munch can be compared to his paintings in their power and intensity.
Argentinean Dino Saluzzi manages to be a great bandeonist and sound different from great Astor Piazzolla. His music is much closer to new age than to "nuevo tango" invented by Piazzolla and Co, his approach is more "down-to-earth" and "minimalistic" yet still bears an influence on Argentinean music . That's what makes him interesting for me and I love this album in particular because of "chamber sound" if you know what I mean. Like you seat in a big dark room next to a fireplace and the guys are playing for you.
This was originally planned as a solo session, but ECM head honcho Manfred Eicher made a call to drummer Jon Christensen, inviting him to sit in on a few tracks, & in the end the musicians & producer liked the results so much that most of the album is duets. Bandoneon/drums duets are unusual to say the least, & the resutls are fascinating, not least because you can hear the musicians thinking about how to respond to the situation. Saluzzi mostly favours dark, brooding, quiet textures, sometimes like a nostalgic memories of tangos & folksongs, sometimes quite dissonant, like some atonal church organ piece.
One of only a handful of Keith Jarrett "Standards" Trio records without a standard within earshot, this is a triumph, for Jarrett has successfully brought the organically evolving patterns of his solo concerts into the group format. Each of the first three selections is built upon a constant revolving ostinato, and each evolves from one stage to the next like a Jarrett solo piano improvisation.
Song For Everyone heralds the return of the groove in Shankar's East-West-minded music, with former Shakti colleague Zakir Hussain on tabla, Trilok Gurtu on percussion, and Shankar's own manipulation of a drum machine tending to the rhythms. The result is a brighter, more outgoing record than its predecessor Vision, veering between Western acoustic and electric grooves and the complex beats churned out by the tabla. Jan Garbarek again shines beams of light on soprano and tenor, engaging Shankar's 10-string double-necked electric violin in some complex interplay on the title track.