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Enrico Rava - Joe Lovano: Roma

Read "Roma" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Pristinely recorded in November 2018, at Rome's Auditorium Parco della Musica, Roma rises from fertile, anticipatory mists like a great host of ECM recordings past, present, and future do and will. Quietly coalescing around the polyphonic, noir-impressionism of master Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava's vaporous “Interiors" are Rava's masterful saxophone counterpart Joe Lovano, accompanied by the avant derring-do of long-time Rava collaborator pianist Giovanni Guidi, double bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Though it is the first time ...

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Keith Jarrett: Munich 2016

Read "Munich 2016" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The second coming of Keith Jarrett—post-Chronic Fatigue Syndrome—was well behind him by the time he performed in Munich, Germany in 2016. The piano prodigy is captured in ECM's home town at a Philharmonic Hall solo concert at the end of his European tour. His improvisational skills in top form, he displays his genius across twelve extemporaneous compositions and three encores, on the two-disc set Munich 2016. For this recording, Jarrett broke with his frequent practice of live improvisations ...

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Kit Downes: Dreamlife of Debris

Read "Dreamlife of Debris" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Kit Downes' ECM debut marked a substantial departure from his earlier recordings with saxophonist Tomas Challenger. Wedding Music (Loop Records, 2013) and Vyamanikal (Slip Imprint, 2016) were rhythmically complex with abstruse melodies that tended toward repetitive patterns and drones. With his ECM title Obsidian (2018), Downes, still on organ, worked in a more solidly constructed environment, imparting Celtic and hymnal qualities. Challenger appeared on only one track of the otherwise solo recording. Downes returns to ECM with Dreamlife of Debris, ...

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Michele Rabbia - Gianluca Petrella - Eivind Aarset: Lost River

Read "Lost River" reviewed by Geno Thackara

There is a bewitching soundscape from a group of subtle and skilled aural sculptors on this beautifully abstract ECM Records session. The players' backgrounds touch on jazz, electronics, European folk and much more, but none of that really matters here. Their approach on Lost River is free of form and convention in the most liberating sense. That doesn't mean they go atonal or meander going nowhere as some free jazz does; it does mean their open-ended improvisations create an immersive ...

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Michele Rabbia/Gianluca Petrella/Eivind Aarset: Lost River

Read "Lost River" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

The ECM catalog includes a broad range of musical genres: the only things they have in common are a forward outlook and excellent musicianship. But there are some that are truly beyond category, and this largely improvised album is one of them. Italian percussionist Michele Rabbia, Italian trombonist Gianluca Petrella and Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset came together at producer Manfred Eicher's suggestion. Rabbia and Aarset have played many duo concerts, and Rabbia has also worked with Petrella in other contexts, ...

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Paul Bley: When Will The Blues Leave

Read "When Will The Blues Leave" reviewed by John Ephland

Ornette Coleman recorded “When Will The Blues Leave" in early 1958, released the next year on Something Else!!!! (Contemporary). Paul Bley played Coleman's blues four years later on The Floater Syndrome (Savoy Records), a trio recording with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete La Roca. Both versions--Coleman's in a quintet with trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Don Payne, drummer Billy Higgins and pianist Walter Norris--suggest more release than lament, their up-tempo swing treatments dwelling in a kind of blow-through-the-blues attitude, in ...

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Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian: When Will The Blues Leave

Read "When Will The Blues Leave" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

The first posthumous Bley release since his passing in 2016, When Will The Blues Leave is a true dance of inquisitive equals. Recorded live at Lugano's Aula Magna in Switzerland in March of 1999, Paul Bley, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian celebrate their decades-long friendship and the virtuoso inspiration first heard on the trio's ever-exquisite reunion of sorts Not Two, Not One (ECM, 1998). It is a reunion of sorts, for the trio can be heard on five tracks from ...

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Keith Jarrett: J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier – Book I

Read "J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier – Book I" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Keith Jarrett and Johann Sebastian Bach go back a long way. Between 1722 and 1742, Bach composed two sets of preludes and fugues in all twenty-four major and minor keys, written for keyboard; the clavier was--at that time--a broad description taking in the harpsichord, clavichord, and organ. The Well-Tempered Clavier--Book I is a live version of Jarrett's 1988 ECM studio release of the same name. Jarrett followed with Book II (2000), another in a series of six Bach recordings.

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Paul Bley / Gary Peacock / Paul Motian: When Will The Blues Leave

Read "When Will The Blues Leave" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Had Paul Bley, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian recorded together more consistently, they would have been considered among the best piano trios in modern jazz history. The three first recorded on the ECM collection Paul Bley with Gary Peacock (1970), a compilation from the 1960s where three of the eight tracks had Billy Elgart on drums. It would be decades before the trio reunited in the studio, and again, ECM captured the session, Not Two, Not One (1998). When Will ...

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Giovanni Guidi: Avec le temps

Read "Avec le temps" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi leads a quintet through a lyrical, mostly original program. The core band is the Giovanni Guidi Trio with American double bassist Thomas Morgan and Portuguese drummer João Lobo, as heard on This Is The Day (ECM Records, 2015) and City Of Broken Dreams (ECM Records, 2013). They are joined by tenor saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti and guitarist Roberto Cecchetto. Guidi's previous release was the collective date Ida Lupino (ECM Records, 2016) with trombonist Gianluca Petrella, clarinetist Louis ...

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Bill Frisell | Thomas Morgan: Epistrophy

Read "Epistrophy" reviewed by John Kelman

When ECM Records released Small Town in 2017, beyond capturing the profound intimacy and musical ability to “finish each other's sentences" shared by the first recorded document of guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan in a duo setting, one of the biggest walk-aways was the hope that this would not be a one-off. Two years later, Epistrophy captures another 68 minutes (running literally 34 seconds longer than Small Town) of intimate interaction, culled from the same March, 2016 run ...

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Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn: The Transitory Poems

Read "The Transitory Poems" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The Transitory Poems might be the first improvised solo piano recording accomplished by a pair of pianists. Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn are 21st century masters and descendants from the likes of Cecil Taylor, Keith Jarrett, Andrew Hill, Anthony Davis, and Paul Bley. This live duo recording, from 2018 in Budapest, is an act of improvisatory construction where both contribute to the orchestration, structure, and density of eight pieces. We are certainly not hearing James P. Johnson and Willie “The ...


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