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February 8 , 2008

ECM in German Jazz Charts – and US Press

The newly-published Jazz World chart finds ECM occupying six places in the German Jazz Top 20, more than any other label. Keith Jarrett has three of those positions: “My Foolish Heart”, in its fourth month of release is at still at # 5, the 3-CD box “Setting Standards” is at # 11, and the eternally-popular “Köln Concert”, after 33 years, is holding steady at # 14. Manu Katché’s “Playground” is at # 13, and Marilyn Mazur’s “Elixir” with Jan Garbarek, enters at # 20. The highest new entry is “January” by the Marcin Wasilewski Trio, at #10 – appropriate recognition for the young Polish band who continue to progress by leaps and bounds.

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ECM also figures in the 2007 retrospective of US magazine Jazz Times. Albums singled out for special attention include:

“Time and Time Again” by the trio of Paul Motian/Bill Frisell/Joe Lovano: “Another round of genius jazz-noir from one of the music’s most cunning and resourceful trios...Motian is one of post-bop’s deftest, most whimsical composers.

“My Foolish Heart” by Jarrett/Peacock/DeJohnette. “While the rest of the jazz world continued to beat standards like so many dead horses, this quarter-century-old trio reminds us what was so great about these melodies in the first place. “

“The Third Quartet” by John Abercrombie. “Ever since he stopped using a pick, the utility guitarist has become a pinnacle of melodic economy and harmonic elegance. Here he forms a delightfully unnatural frontline with violinist Mark Feldman.”

“The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu” by Carla Bley. “At first the affiliation appears counterintuitive: Carla Bley is a fiercely quirky, cerebral pianist; Fresu plays trumpet with heart-on-sleeve romanticism. Yet it not only works, it is the best album in years from each of them.”

“Prezens” by David Torn. “Bookending his career with this return to ECM, the iconoclastic guitarist (with expert help from organist Craig Taborn) combines hard-won musicianship with mind-warping electronic smears.”