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January 22 , 2008

Jazz and improvised albums due soon

2008 promises to be another year of outstanding releases from ECM. Albums issued in the first season of the new year include the following:

Marilyn Mazur

Marilyn Mazur: marimba, bowed vibraphone and waterphone, hang, bells, gongs, cymbals, magic drum, log drum, sheep bells, Indian cowbells, udu drum, various drums and metal-utensils

Jan Garbarek: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute

ECM 1962

An album of solos and intimate duos with, as its starting point, the sound of Marilyn Mazur’s percussion instruments, collected from all over the world – each of them allowed to “speak” with its own voice – either alone or in dialogue with Jan Garbarek’s saxophones. The Danish percussionist spent 14 years on the road with the Jan Garbarek Group, appearing on albums including “I Took Up The Runes”, “Twelve Moons”, “Visible Worlds” and “Rites”, but “Elixir” marks the first time that Mazur has established the parameters for their musical collaboration. In these improvisations she continually triggers new responses from Garbarek: yearning melodies, joyful dances, meditations.

Release: January 25, 2008

Marcin Wasilewski Trio

Marcin Wasilewski: piano
Slawomir Kurkiewicz: double-bass
Michal Miskiewicz: drums

ECM 2019

Simple no more: the artists formerly known as the Simple Acoustic Trio, young Polish group with a long history, have changed their name for a recording that is a powerful statement by any standards. Repertoire is broad-based indeed, and includes Gary Peacock’s “Vignette” and Carla Bley’s “King Korn” (tunes associated with, respectively, Keith Jarrett and Paul Bley), Ennio Morricone’s “Cinema Paradiso”, “Balladyna” by trio mentor Tomasz Stanko, a cover of Prince’s pop hit “Diamonds and Pearls”, group improvisation, and new, profoundly lyrical compositions by Wasilewski. Recorded in New York in 2007.

Released on January 11, 2008

Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette
Setting Standards
New York Sessions

Keith Jarrett: piano
Gary Peacock: double-bass
Jack DeJohnette: drums

ECM 2030-32

Re-released as a boxed set to celebrate 25 years of trio activity, “Setting Standards” brings together the albums “Standards Vol. 1”, “Standards Vol. 2” and “Changes”, recordings made in a sustained burst of creativity in 1983, in the meanwhile-legendary Power Station Sessions. Peter Rüedi in the liner notes: “From the very beginning Jarrett emphasized two imperatives: they must take the standards seriously as great if unrecognized art on a small scale, and they had to do so from an up-to-date and radically improvisational vantage point. Once the musicians entered the studio the effect was astonishing. The old tunes unleashed a rush of emotions, a delight in streams of collective communication, without preconditions, following not only the skeletal chord changes but the melodic lines of force in the originals.”

Released on January 11, 2008

Misha Alperin
Her First Dance

Misha Alperin: piano
Arkady Shilkloper: french horn, flugelhorn
Anja Lechner:violoncello

ECM 1995

First new recording in a decade from Ukraine-born Misha Alperin, whose last two ECM discs, “Night” and “At Home” were both recorded in 1998. This newest album of solos, duos and trios picks up the productive association with German cellist Anja Lechner begun on “Night”, and also features Alperin’s musical partner of many years, Russian virtuoso horn player Arkady Shilkloper. The landscape keeps changing in a programme of many moods, as Alperin’s compositions reflect his quick-witted mind. Lyricism is here, and dazzling technical skills in abundance.

Release: February 12, 2008

Ketil Bjørnstad/Terje Rypdal
Life In Leipzig

Ketil Bjørnstad: piano
Terje Rypdal: electric guitar

ECM 2052

A live recording from the Leipzig Opera House is the debut documentation of the duo of Ketil Bjørnstad and Terje Rypdal (active already since 1999). Material revisits pieces from Bjørnstad’s “Water Stories” and “The Sea” and from Rypdal’s “If Mountains Could Sing” and “Skywards”, and adds a Grieg theme and new material. Cranked-amp electric guitar and acoustic piano is a rare, possibly unique, duo combination, but as Ketil notes in his tour diary liner notes, “I am not always the softest pianist, and especially not when I am working with Terje.”

Release: February 29, 2008

Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin

Nik Bärtsch: piano
Sha: bass and contrabass clarinets, alto saxophone
Björn Meyer: bass guitar
Kaspar Rast: drums
Andi Pupato: percussion

ECM 2049

The second ECM album by Swiss composer-pianist Nik Bärtsch and his band Ronin reaps the benefits of the two years of roadwork undertaken since the recording of “Stoa”. “We’ve simply played a lot more,” Bärtsch emphasizes. “The development of the band as an organism is a very important force for the music. It is through playing that the pieces I write grow and bloom.” The distinguishing characteristics of the music are consistent: the modular constructions, the polymetric pulses, the complex interlocking patterns and repetitive motifs. Bärtsch speaks of the band’s way of working as a “spiral continuum” rather than the newness-at-all-costs priorities of the Western avant-garde. Yet it is clear enough that a conceptual leap has been made in Ronin’s music, for the band’s sound is simultaneously looser and indissoluble, without any relinquishing of the grip upon the groove.

Release: February 15, 2008

Charles Lloyd
Rabo de Nube

Charles Lloyd: tenor saxophone, alto flute, tarogato
Jason Moran: piano
Reuben Rogers: double-bass
Eric Harland: drums, percussion

ECM 2053

In time for the great saxophonist’s 70th birthday on March 15, a rousing set from a revamped Lloyd Quartet, recorded live in Basel in 2007. New to the party, and in an ECM debut, is pianist Jason Moran, whose percussive attack, with its echoes of Monk and Bud Powell, lights fires. Moran already has a history with drummer Eric Harland, intensifying the rhythmic interaction that lifts Lloyd skyward on uptempo workouts including a blistering account of old favourite “Sweet Georgia Bright”. There are also tender ballads, including the title track, Cuban songwriter Silvio Rodríguez’s “Rabo de Nube” (“tail of a cloud”), a mountaintop meditation with the tarogato (“Ramanujan”), a tribute to Booker Little, and more. CD booklet includes concert photography as well as verse by prizewinning poet Charles Simic which nicely characterizes both the “rural” and “city” aspects of Charles’s sound.

Release: March 7, 2008

Evan Parker
Transatlantic Art Ensemble

Evan Parker: soprano saxophone
Roscoe Mitchell: alto and soprano saxophones
Anders Svanoe: alto saxophone
John Rangecroft: clarinet
Neil Metcalfe: flute
Corey Wilkes: trumpet and flugelhorn
Nils Bultmann: viola
Philipp Wachsmann:violin
Marcio Mattos: cello
Craig Taborn: piano
Jaribu Shahid: double-bass
Barry Guy: double-bass
Tani Tabbal: drums, percussion
Paul Lytton: drums, percussion

ECM 1873

Evan Parker and Roscoe Mitchell co-founded the Transatlantic Art Ensemble in 2004. The ensemble’s account of Mitchell’s “Composition/Improvisation Nos. 1, 2 & 3” was issued by ECM to critical acclaim (including an album-of-the-year award from France’s Jazzman). “Boustrophedon”, featuring Evan Parker’s music, is the companion volume. Like nothing else in Parker’s discography it features him as composer-conductor, guiding the transatlantic instrumental forces into chamber orchestral territory “somewhere between Gil Evans and Luigi Nono”. There is also, amongst many highlights, some transcendent saxophone playing – from both Parker and Mitchell. Recorded live in Munich.

Release: March 11, 2008

Norma Winstone / Glauco Venier / Klaus Gesing

Norma Winstone: voice
Klaus Gesing: bass clarinet, soprano saxophone
Glauco Venier: piano

ECM 2028

Norma Winstone, England’s finest jazz vocalist, returns with a trio featuring German reedman Klaus Gesing and Italian pianist Glauco Venier (both of whom make their ECM debuts here) and a superb programme that takes in songs from Cole Porter to Peter Gabriel, a free calypso, a tribute to Coltrane, adaptations of Satie, folks songs, Pasolini and more and flows like an extended suite. Winstone’s lyrics reveal a real poetic sensibility, and both Gesing and Venier are fine jazz composers who put their considerable instrumental skills in the service of the songs. The result: a unique and special group language and one of the season’s outstanding recordings.

Release: March 11, 2008