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December 17 , 2007

Of masterpieces, gold discs, & co.

This is the season when music magazines nail their enthusiasms to the mast and announce choices for the year’s best records. ECM releases are on a number of such lists at the end of 2007. For instance:

US jazz magazine Down Beat declares “Ojos Negros” by Dino Saluzzi and Anja Lechner to be a five-star “masterpiece”, and an album of the year (other albums in DB’s best-of-2007 list include Paul Bley’s “Solo in Mondsee”, Manu Katché’s “Playground”, the Paul Motian Trio’s “Time and Time Again”, Enrico Rava’s “The Words and the Days”, Tomasz Stanko’s “Lontano”, John Surman’s “The Spaces In Between”, and David Torn’s “Prezens”).

For the critics of UK’s Jazz Review, the Album of the Year is Tord Gustavsen’s “Being There”. (Simultaneously, Tord’s second album, “The Ground” received a Gold Disc in Norway, an almost unheard-of feat for an instrumental album).

France’s Jazzman magazine recently held an awards ceremony in Paris to celebrate their albums of the year , the “Chocs Jazman de l’année 2007”. Winners were Roscoe Mitchell, for his “Composition/Improvisation Nos. 1, 2 and 3”, and Carla Bley for “The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu”.

England’s newspaper The Guardian has rounded up an across-all-genres all-time list of “1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die”. Various ECM and ECM-distributed discs are included, amongst them the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s “Full Force”, Carla Bley’s “Escalator Over The Hill”, Stefano Bollani’s “Piano Solo”, Dave Holland’s “Conference of the Birds”, Keith Jarrett’s “Köln Concert”, Pat Metheny’s “80/81”, Nils Petter Molvaer’s “Khmer”, Edward Vesala’s “Ode to the Death of Jazz”, Kenny Wheeler’s “Gnu High”, and the Rarum/Selected Recordings discs of John Surman and Egberto Gismonti.

At the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung there are critics “recommendations for undecided record-buyers” with the following albums listed: Herbert Henck’s “Sonatas of Trepulka and von Hannenheim”, “Asturiana” by Kim Kashkashian/Robert Levin, “Re: Pasolini” by Stefano Battaglia, “The Zoo Is Far” by Christian Wallumrød, and “Cerha/Schreker” with Heinrich Schiff and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.

At All About Jazz New York, the music is saluted in various categories:
Musicians of the Year: Stefano Bollani
Performances of the year: Paul Motian/Joe Lovano/Bill Frisell at the Village Vanguard
Albums of the Year: Enrico Rava : “The Words and the Days” and David Torn: “Prezens”
Reissued Recordings of the Year: Bennie Maupin: ”The Jewel in the Lotus”;
Jazz Books of the Year: “Horizons Touched - The Music of ECM” (Granta)
Record Labels of the Year: ECM

More soon on this and related themes.