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Jon Christensen

Jon Christensen over the past thirty years, the Norwegian drummer has played drums and percussion on fully fifty-five releases from the esteemed German jazz label.

Jon elaborates on beats: "You could go to a jazz club Tuesday at 8:00 and play just one tap on the cymbal, then come back to the club exactly one week later and play one more cymbal hit. People would think the two events have nothing in common. But that is a beat."

Well, that might not wash in Nashville, but it's certainly worked its magic for a host of ECM artists. "If I'm playing with a band in 4/4 in a medium tempo," Jon explains, "and I feel like loosening up a bit, I could go out of tempo or stop altogether"but I always know exactly where I am. I'm just not marking the 1 or setting up the bridge with a fill. I always try to avoid that. Instead, I try to play in waves."

Although Christensen can play straight time with the best of 'em - always on a brutally heavy old Turkish K - he'd rather mix it up a little. You hear Jon's diverse approaches on his ECM Rarum release, eloquent testimony to his status as a master of modern jazz drumming. Other Rarum honorees include Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Pat Metheny, Dave Holland, Gary Burton, Keith Jarrett, and Bill Frisell.

Christensen turned sixty touring with a guitarist half his age, Jacob Young. Over the decades, Jon intimates, "I've always been hired to play like I play. I've been playing "Jon Christensen" all the way. Journalists began writing that I was this innovative drummer and that people from Japan and Europe had begun trying to play like me. Only then did I figure out, Hmmm, maybe I've done something different after all."

Improvisational understanding in the group levels out the age differences: lyrically inventive trumpeter Mathias Eick may be 28 and resourceful drummer Jon Christensen 64 but they are clearly attuned to each other. A particular delight of the new album is the interplay between Young’s prominently-featured acoustic guitar and Christensen’s drums, in striking interplay on four of the pieces here “Sideways” itself, "Near South End", "Out of Night” and “Maybe We Can”.

In an interview with All About Jazz, Young called Christensen the director of the band: "He’s more of a director than a drummer in the traditional sense, at least the way he plays now. He can push the tune in any direction he wants." Christensen is at liberty to play freely, colour the music or drive it forward, to light fires under the musicians or detail their solos.

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Radio & Podcasts

Farnell Newton, Nuphar Fey and a tribute to Jon Christensen

Read "Farnell Newton, Nuphar Fey and a  tribute to Jon Christensen" reviewed by Bob Osborne


Two featured new albums from Farnell Newton and Nuphar Fey and a comprehensive tribute to Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen who passed away on 18th February Farnell Newton gets up on the good foot and heads off full speed ahead on his second leader album for Posi-Tone. This action packed session features the high powered front line of Newton's trumpet, and Brandon Wright's hard-swinging tenor saxophone, alongside the all-star rhythm section of organist Brian Charette and drummer Rudy Royston. ...

65
Album Review

Yelena Eckemoff: Nocturnal Animals

Read "Nocturnal Animals" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


Pianist-composer Yelena Eckemoff is predictably unpredictable. After an early series of piano trio albums she worked with larger ensembles, culminating in the sextet (plus vocalists) of Better Than Gold And Silver (L&H, 2018). After cutting back to a duet with drummer Manu Katché on Colors (L&H, 2019) she returns with a larger band, but with a difference; this is a quartet with double bassist Arild Andersen (her longest collaborator), and drummer/percussionists Jon Christensen and Thomas Strønen. It may ...

102
Album Review

Yelena Eckemoff: Nocturnal Animals

Read "Nocturnal Animals" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


"You're busy appearing or you're busy disappearing." Drummer-bandleader Art Blakey may have said that; if he didn't, he should have. Somebody had to express the importance of presenting your work, for getting it out there to an audience. This goes for virtually any artist in any medium. Double down on that for people who create jazz. Pianist Yelena Eckemoff rolls with the “busy appearing" concept. She is prolific; since her debut recording , Cold Sun (L & H, ...

70
Album Review

Yelena Eckemoff Quartet: Everblue

Read "Everblue" reviewed by Neri Pollastri


A due anni di distanza dall'ottimo Glass Song, realizzato in trio, la pianista Yelena Eckemoff, moscovita da oltre vent'anni stabilitasi negli Stati Uniti, allarga la formazione mantenendone l'impianto culturale: ai due monumenti della musica scandinava Arild Andersen e jon Christensen aggiunge infatti il sassofonista Tore Brunborg, per formare un quartetto dalla cifra meditativa e dal lirismo evocatico tipicamente nordici. Le composizioni di questo Everblue sono quasi tutte della pianista (fanno eccezione solo “Prism" e “Man," di Andersen), la ...

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Album Review

Yelena Eckemoff Quartet: Everblue

Read "Everblue" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


In a quick follow-up to her masterful two CD set Lions, Russian-born and now North Carolina-based pianist Yelena Eckemoff offers up Everblue, the most “ECM Records-sounding" set not on that deservedly esteemed label. It is, rather, released on her own L&H Productions. The names of the sidemen on the date explain in part the ECM-like sound: saxophonist Tore Brunborg, bassist Arild Andersen, and drummer Jon Christensen, the Norwegian contingent, are all long time ECM Records artists, as leaders ...

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Extended Analysis

Miroslav Vitous Group

Read "Miroslav Vitous Group" reviewed by John Kelman


With the ongoing demand for historic titles to see first-time CD issue, ECM has raised the ante even further with Re:solutions: seven classic recordings, released on CD (four available for the first time and one previously only available for a limited time in Japan), vinyl and high resolution digital formats. They're all important, but 1981's Miroslav Vitous Group stands out as one of the most significant, completing, as it does—and more than three decades after the fact—the Czech bassist's early ...

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Extended Analysis

Eberhard Weber: Colours

Read "Eberhard Weber: Colours" reviewed by John Kelman


As the jazz-rock fusion movement gained ground from its early years in the late 1960s through its glory days in the early-to-mid-1970s—blending the more sophisticated harmonies of jazz with rock music's rhythmic power and high volume—all too often it was about muscular chops and complex writing for the sake of it. Little attention was paid to nuance and understatement. While guitarist John McLaughlin's high octane Mahavishnu Orchestra and keyboard player Chick Corea's guitar-centric incarnation of Return to Forever were tearing ...

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Recording

Pianist Yelena Eckemoff Reaches New Heights Working With The Norwegian Dream Team Of Arild Andersen, Jon Christensen, And Tore Brunborg On "Everblue"

Pianist Yelena Eckemoff Reaches New Heights Working With The Norwegian Dream Team Of Arild Andersen, Jon Christensen, And Tore Brunborg On "Everblue"

Source: All About Jazz

By Dan Bilawsky When pianist Yelena Eckemoff released Cold Sun (L & H Production, 2010)—a trio date with drumming legend Peter Erskine and Danish bass whiz Mads Vinding—the jazz world was introduced to a startlingly fresh voice destined for great things. Over the course of the six albums that followed, Eckemoff lived up to that promise, delivering organically-crafted music reflective of her classical background, fascination with the natural world, poetic soul, communicative spirit, and overall open-mindedness. Now, Eckemoff is poised ...

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Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Nocturnal Animals

L&H Production
2020

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Everblue

L & H Production
2015

buy

Everblue

L & H Production
2015

buy

Eberhard Weber:...

ECM Records
2009

buy

Melange Bleu

ACT Music
2007

buy

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