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August 24 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

A first reaction from the United States to András Schiff's upcoming recording of Johann Sebastian Bach's Das Wohltemperierte Clavier

It goes without saying that Schiff provides an accurate account of all the marks on paper, reifned with a precise sense of every note’s proper duration. What really matters, however, is his thorough understanding of the contrapuntal structure of any Bach selection he performs. Through his control of dynamics, these recordings offer up a crystal-clear-account of each of the participating voices, allowing the attentive listener to appreciate every detail of how those voices interact. […] As a result, even those who think they already know this side of Bach’s work are likely to encounter new insights through listening to the recordings Schiff has made; and this set will make an excellent complement to his previous ECM recordings of both the ‘Goldberg’ variations and the six partitas.
Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com


Heiner Goebbels' work on Stifters Dinge impresses Music Web International

This is a remarkable and surprisingly rich and stimulating work, and very much worth hearing in its own right, even divorced from its theatrical origin. Yes, it’s contemporary music and no, it’s not filled with tunes to which you can hum along, but it is romantic in feel, with the same kind of invisible virtuosity which you find in a Brahms ‘Ballade’. As the sonic equivalent of beautifully conceived and well-constructed installation art this is visual stimulation for the ears, and as such has a great deal to offer.
Dominy Clements, Music Web International


A German reviewer considers Arianna Savall's and Petter Udland Johansen's Hirundo Maris a revelation

Wie musikalische Zugvögel driftet dieses Werk hin und her: mal überwiegt die ursprüngliche spanische Musik mit maurischem Einschlag, mal wieder hymnische norwegische Gesang. Eine Offenbarung.
Patrick Krause, Qvest


Enrico Rava's tribute to the artistry of Michael Jackson on the brandnew On the Dance Floor thrills German magazines

Hingerissen von der Energie überführte Rava die Songs vom Pop in den Jazz und spielte sie mit Band ein. Passender Titel seines großartigen Livealbums: ‚Rava On The Dancefloor’.
Stern

Für Disco-Fans ist das zugegebenermaßen nichts, aber wie Rava mithilfe des Arrangeurs Mauro Ottolini die schnittigen Stücke in den Jazzkosmos überführt, ist schon bravourös. Besonders gut funktioniert das bei den Groove-lastigen Songs wie „Thriller“, „Smooth Criminal“ oder „Blood On The Dancefloor“, in denen sich das Großensemble nach allen Regeln der Kunst verausgabt. Wie der über 70-jährige Rava die Energie dieser Musik in sich aufnimmt, das ist ein Vergnügen für sich
Rolf Thomas, Jazzthing


More international acclaim for the Celebration of highlights from the ECM catalogue by Arild Andersen, Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

Compositions by some of the label’s biggest stars are given a lush big band makeover, with Andersen’s sonorous bass artfully capturing the essence of the originals. A unique and unusual celebration that deftly balances the new and the familiar.
Cormac Larkin, Irish Times

I’m not usually a fan of ‘tribute’ albums but this is one of the best of the genre with the imaginative arrangements and superb musicianship putting a fresh slant on the chosen material. Of course many of these compositions are solid gold classics but many of them started out as small group pieces and it’s fascinating to hear them in a diffrent context. Smith and particularly Andersen are brilliant throughout, there aren’t too many bassists around who could maintain the listeners interest as the featured soloist over a whole CD but Andersen is one of them, his fluency and imagination seem to know no bounds and he’s such an intrinsically melodic player. Like so many of the musicians on the ECM roster he has a highly personal, instantly identifiable sound.
Ian Mann, The Jazzmann.com

Eine kleine Labelretrospektive der anderen Art im Großformat der Bigbands, die ohnehin gerade eine Renaissance erleben. Und vor allem aber eine reizvolle Neubegegnung mit ECM-Klassikern, deren Leuchtkraft neu kalibriert wird.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Jazzthing


British critic Peter Bacon on John Surman's solo album Saltash Bells

The multi-reedman’s first solo album for 18 years, and an amzing 40 years after is first one, ‘Westering Home’, makes perfect Sunday listening. It is not insistent, it doesn’t grab you by the collar and shake you, but it insinuates itself into your consciousness and slowly envelopes you in a most absorbing way.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast


Jon Balke's Magnetic Works is reviewed on Jazzcamera.co.uk

Pianist Jon Balke’s Magnetic North Orchestra produced some of the most intriguing, stimulating music in the ECM catalogue, and the release of this new double album is a welcome chance to reflect on the group’s achievements.
John Watson, Jazzcamera