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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: La Fenice

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The archival gap tightens between the earlier solo release of Keith Jarrett's mid-90s concert, as captured on A Multitude of Angels (ECM, 2016), and his post-illness return to live performing. La Fenice was recorded at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, in 2006, four years after Jarrett had returned to solo performing in Japan. The double album closely corresponds with Jarrett's Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement award from the International Festival of Contemporary Music of the Biennale di Venezia. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jakob Bro: Bay of Rainbows

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Danish guitarist Jakob Bro returns with another album made by his working trio with double bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron, previously heard on Streams (ECM, 2016). Recorded live at Jazz Standard in New York in July, 2017, it is also Bro's first live recording for the label. The repertoire mainly documents Bro originals that the trio has been playing for years, most of them predating his ECM albums as leader. Opener “Mild" was first recorded on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trygve Seim: Helsinki Songs

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Before revealing its more inert, contemplative rewards, Norwegian saxophonist Trygve Seim opens Helsinki Songs, his sixth disc for ECM as a leader/co-leader, with the rolling, pop-ish dance of “Sol's Song," sounding immediately recognizable, like a well-known theme song to some long gone sitcom or movie. Written mostly in the grand Finnish capital, Helsinki Songs' eleven ethereal compositions quietly reflect the moody, autumnal characteristics of their surroundings. To serve the songs and their heightened sense of time and space, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barre Phillips: End To End

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Legendary double bassist and improviser Barre Phillips writes what is billed as the final chapter in his storied history of solo bass recordings on the aptly titled End To End. He recorded what is generally regarded as the first solo double bass album in 1968 with Journal Violone (Opus One)--an unplanned event, as he intended the music to be source material for composer Max Schubel. He followed that with the first improvised double bass duet album with Dave Holland, Music ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Live

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Recorded by Flemish radio in Antwerp 2016 without the trio's knowledge, this accidental live disc not only delivers to followers of this long-lived Polish unit an essential live document, it washes over newcomers like a cresting baptismal wave that never stops cleansing the soul and senses. Nearing thirty years as a unit--they also served as the late trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's adventurous rhythm section from 2001-2006)--the ability of pianist Marcin Wasilewski, double bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sungjae Son: Near East Quartet

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Korean saxophonist Sungjae Son founded the Near East Quartet with the goal to form a bridge between traditional Korean music and American jazz. Korean music's traditional slow rhythmic feel is not immediately compatible with the regular rhythms of jazz--so it was up to the quartet's members to find a common ground. They followed different paths individually: Son and guitarist Suwuk Chung both studied in the United States, but at the time Son was a bebopper, while Chung was into fusion ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Live

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It is timely, albeit in a melancholy way, that one-time Tomasz Stańko protégé Marcin Wasilewski and his trio would offer a retrospective live performance that closely coincides with the passing of the legendary Polish trumpeter. The pianist, still just in his early forties, first recorded with Stańko's octet while he was a teenager and quickly went on to release his first Simple Acoustic Trio album, Komeda (Not Two, 1995), at just twenty. From the outset bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tord Gustavsen: The Other Side

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Like a dusty, Southern gothic novel, Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen opens his return to the trio format with the moody, enigmatic “The Tunnel." All his compositions on The Other Side bare their secrets slowly and play out their methodically expressionistic hauntings with a gospel-influenced left hand seemingly rooted thousands of miles away in the muddy Louisiana delta. Though Being There (ECM, 2007) was widely hailed yet often criticized as being cool in nature, The Other Side is a ...

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Marc Sinan: White

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Many of us won't understand all the scalar, metronomic, Lydian, meter, or modal intricacies and subtleties that guitarist Marc Sinan and clarinetist Oguz Buyukerber work off of or against, but for those seeking some kind of rhythm in our lives, it can be found it at times, and it flows. And on White the music flows entrancingly. Or, as Sinan states in the one sheet “blurs the distinction between the real and the surreal." And that it does. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Elina Duni: Partir

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Sometimes a change in musical direction is instigated by life experiences; sometimes it's driven by nothing more than choice. Following two recordings for ECM Records with her Switzerland-based quartet, Elina Duni makes a significant directional shift with the entirely solo Partir. Given the generally introspective nature of 2012's Matanë Malit (Over the Mountain) and 2015's Dallёndyshe (The Swallow), it's no surprise to find Partir even more intimate still, the Albanian-born singer accompanied by nothing more than her relatively spare but ...