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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Jan Garbarek / Egberto Gismonti / Charlie Haden: Magico - Carta de Amor

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Jan Garbarek/Egberto Gismonti/Charlie HadenMagico: Carta de AmorECM Records2012It's sure been a banner year for fans of the ECM label, with a slew of fine new releases from artists including guitarist John Abercrombie (Within a Song), bassist Arild Andersen (Celebration), pianist Tord Gustavsen (The Well), and saxophonist Tim Berne (Snakeoil). Previously out-of-print or never-before-in-print studio recordings from saxophonist Jan Garbarek (Dansere) and pianist Jon Balke (Magnetic Works: 1993-2001) are now back in circulation. And, for the first time since bassist Charlie Haden's duet record with pianist/guitarist Egberto Gismonti (2001's In Montreal, from a ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Jan Garbarek: Dansere

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Jan GarbarekDansereECM Records2012Of all the box sets released so far as part of ECM Records' Old & New Masters Edition series, none have documented a period of such rapid growth and change as that of Jan Garbarek and Dansere, which collects the Norwegian saxophonist's three recordings with Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson: Sart (1971), Witchi-Tai-To (1974) and Dansere (1976). ECM's series of three- and four-disc Old and New Masters sets began with pianist Keith Jarrett's Setting Standards: New York Sessions (2008), celebrating the 25th anniversary of his now nearly 30-year Standards Trio, and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek / The Hilliard Ensemble: Officium Novum

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Officium (ECM, 1993) paired renowned Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek with The Hilliard ensemble--a vocal group with a formidable reputation in the fields of both early and new music--playing a riveting and gorgeous set of compositions that were 500 years old. This unusual pairing proved to be a match made in heaven, as the subtle and wistful tone of Garbarek's 20th century instrument somehow found its place as another voice among the beautiful voices of the Hilliard ensemble, receiving rave reviews. The fruits of that collaboration continued with a series of concerts and a sequel, the double-disc Mnemosine (ECM, 1998), which ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jan Garbarek / The Hilliard Ensemble: New York, November 12, 2010

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Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard EnsembleChurch of St. Ignatius LoyolaNew York, NYNovember 12, 2010 Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and the ancient music quartet known as The Hilliard Ensemble first came together through the machinations of ECM records owner and maestro Manfred Eicher. Their auspicious debut collaboration was Officium (ECM 1994), a serene mix of Medieval chants blended with Garbarek's ethereal saxophone. Belonging to neither the classical nor jazz bins, yet with clear roots to both traditions, it proved to be a surprise success among mainstream audiences. Now, fifteen years later, the five musicians haven't ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek / The Hilliard Ensemble: Officium Novum

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At first blush, there is really no reason the eutection of early a capella music and modern saxophone should work. It is antithetical, it makes no sense. However, wizards like Manfred Eicher, saxophonist and ECM stalwart Jan Garbarek, and early music mavens The Hilliard Ensemble not only defy the odds, they redefine them with a bit of creative musical alchemy. An adjective that meets at the intersection of ECM, Garbarek, and the Hilliards is atmospheric. Witness the reception of Officium (ECM, 1994) and Mnemosyne (ECM, 1999).Officium Novum continues this unlikely success with a collection of Armenian music, evolved ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek / The Hilliard Ensemble: Officium Novum

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With the unexpected massive success of Officium (ECM, 1994), Jan Garbarek's first collaboration with The Hilliard Ensemble, it would be all too easy for the Norwegian saxophonist and British vocal ensemble to rest on their not inconsiderable laurels, and simply repeat the formula. But while Officium featured a repertoire of structured early music--from Gregorian chant to early polyphony, over which Garbarek soared improvisationally--the double-disc follow-up, Menemosyne (ECM, 1999), expanded the quintet's purview by introducing music of a more contemporary nature, including fragments of minimal notation that encouraged The Hilliard Ensemble to extemporize alongside the saxophonist. A decade later, Officium Novum ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek Group: Dresden

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For those new to the explorations of jazz, Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek could be a new name. Never a prolific artist, Dresden is his first release in five years, following In Praise of Dreams (ECM Records, 2004). It was another five years between that disc and its predecessor, Mnemosyne (ECM Records, 1999).But for fans who have been in it for the long haul--and for those open to the European jazz listening experience--Dresden is further proof of Garbarek's ongoing musical vitality, passionate artistry, and ability to put together a unique group sound. This is, after all, The Jan Garbarek ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek Group: Dresden

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Though less active on the recording front in recent years--In Praise of Dreams (ECM, 2004) was his first since Mnemosyne (ECM, 1999), following up his immensely popular pairing with the Hilliard Ensemble, Officium (ECM, 1994)--Jan Garbarek has toured virtually every year, playing dates in Europe and further abroad. His 2008 Mai Jazz performance, in Stavanger, Norway, proved that, despite unfounded accusations of leaving jazz behind, the iconic Norwegian saxophonist is still capable of turning up the heat and blowing with the best of them. Labels have long become meaningless when describing Garbarek's music, but Dresden--his first live album, recorded in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek: In Praise of Dreams

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The late night radio escapades of the '80s introduced the instrumental music style dubbed New Age, which demonstrated a different path from the over-commercialized contemporary scene, yet also appealed to audiences who desired more creative, meditative, and structured music. Groups such as Tangerine Dream and pianist George Winston filled the airwaves with an assorted mix of electronic/acoustic and urban/rural sounds, putting out highly composed recordings that are still popular today. The new release In Praise of Dreams by Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek fits this mold with music that is thoughtful and well executed.

Also featuring Kim Kashkashian on viola and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek: In Praise of Dreams

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Following a six-year break from recording, with only a guest appearance on bassist Miroslav Vitous' Universal Syncopations ('03) and a :Rarum compilation ('02), Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek returns with his first album of new material since Rites ('98). In Praise of Dreams continues along the path established by such recordings as Legend of the Seven Dreams , I Took Up The Runes , and Visible World. But while Garbarek demonstrates the same penchant for deceptively simple pieces with almost anthem-like themes, his collaboration with violist Kim Kashkashian and drummer Manu Katche results in something richer, something deeper than what has ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek: Rarum: Selected Recordings of Jan Garbarek

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Jan Garbarek's music can be summed up in one simple word: meditation. Sure, the term is loaded with overtones, both good and bad. But do not confuse meditation with mindlessness: they are polar opposites. Garbarek's thirty years with ECM (as a leader and collaborator) have yielded hundreds of melodies which lead to an infinitely light state of inner peace. It's hard to imagine a more positive statement for a saxophone player who long ago decided to forsake flash-and-bang for “simpler" music with understated spiritual energy.

And this two-disc set does Garbarek justice. Each disc runs in chronological order ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek: Rites

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This sprawling new double CD by Jan Garbarek is an apotheosis of the vision and approach he has pursued more or less single-mindedly for almost thirty years now. Virtually all the roads he has visited in the past are revisited, in one way or another, here, and in as crisply competent and subtly virtuosic a fashion as ever.

As usual, Garbarek's masterful playing is the central element that commands attention. His soprano playing on the cheerful, upbeat, jazzy “Her Wild Ways" is as fine a command of the instrument as you'll find anywhere this side of Steve Lacy. Don Cherry's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek / The Hilliard Ensemble: Mnemosyne

Half a decade ago, the visionary in Manfred Eicher met the marketing man head-on and the first collaboration between ECM's most popular artists - and an album called Officium - bridged the outwardly alien worlds of mediaeval ecclesiastical vocal harmony and Jazz saxophone. Garbarek's purity and economy of sound and his independence from the rhythmic history of Jazz allowed his saxophones to sing a fabulously evocative descant to the four Hilliard vocalists stunning recreations of vocal music before the Renaissance.Officium became a worldwide success, and this year the collaboration is on tour around the world to support a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jan Garbarek: Rites

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It’s hard to disagree with the companion press release, which suggests that “Rites” is a World Music effort. Jan Garbarek explores his “rites of passages” and takes us on a journey that shadows Garbarek’s personal observations and life experiences. Here, Garbarek expands upon his 1996 ECM release “Visible World” with clearer output and perhaps a more refined production. Upon its release, “Visible World” was criticized by some for being too commercial or perhaps leaning toward an “Adult Contemporary” (New Age) market.

This two CD set “Rites” was released several months ago in Europe and has reportedly sold somewhere near a ...



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