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Jazz - Released November 2, 2012 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Le top 6 JAZZ NEWS - Hi-Res Audio
In 1979, ECM released Magico and Folk Songs, two gorgeous albums by the creative trio of saxophonist Jan Garbarek, guitarist/pianist Egberto Gismonti, and bassist Charlie Haden. Magico: Carta de Amor is a double-disc recorded live in 1981 in Munich which has been sitting in ECM's vaults until now. The recording features a seasoned band in full command of a shared musical language developed after an extended period touring together. It contrasts sharply with the work they issued as individual players during this era: Garbarek's Eventyr in 1980 and Paths and Prints in 1981, Gismonti's Frevo (1980), and Sanfona and En Familia (1981), and Haden's collaborations with Old and New Dreams, Ornette Coleman, and Pat Metheny. The material here features five iconic Gismonti compositions -- yet only "Palhaço" appears on this trio's studio albums. Haden’s 16-minute "La Pasionaria," a number closely associated with his Liberation Music Orchestra, is presented in a glorious trio version. It features intense, forceful playing by Garbarek which contrasts with Gismonti's spacious guitar playing. Garbarek's own "Spor," which also appeared on the trio's studio album Magico, is presented as a more elliptical group improvisation here. Haden's high-pitched bowing adds a tinge of the otherworldly, while Garbarek's voice is simultaneously emotive and icy. Gismonti's pianism is given an ample showcase on "Palhaço" and Haden's "All That Is Beautiful," the latter with lovely, ethereal soprano work from Garbarek. The bassist's "Two Folk Songs" is given an urgent, dark-tinged, exotic treatment thanks in no small part to Gismonti's virtuoso 12-string playing and Haden's elegant yet propulsive push at the melody articulated by Garbarek's soprano. It differs considerably from the version he presented on Metheny's 80/81. "Folk Song," from the trio's Folk Songs album, is a group improvisation based on a traditional hymn, but moves far afield with startling guitar effects and soprano soloing. Like Keith Jarrett's Sleeper, a live quartet date from 1979 that also saw the light of day from ECM in 2012, Magico: Carta de Amor is a musical treasure trove that features three players from three continents working in near-symbiotic dialogue, offering music that showcases compositional and improvisational mastery, yet transcends the limitations of genre classification. ~ Thom Jurek
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Classical - Released September 17, 2010 | ECM

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Jazz - Released April 1, 1974 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | ECM New Series

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25 years on from the release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, comes Remember me, my dear, recorded during the final tour the group made in October 2014. The program is emblematic of the range of repertoire the Norwegian saxophonist and British vocal quartet explored together – from Pérotin, Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume le Rouge, Antoine Brumel to Komitas, Arvo Pärt and more. It could be said that the Hilliard/Garbarek combination, in concert, transcended its source materials, with early music, contemporary composition and improvisation interfused in the responsive acoustics of sacred spaces. And this final album reminds us that the unique Garbarek/Hilliard combination, and its unprecedented exploration of sound, was consistently breathtaking. © ECM Records
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Classical - Released September 19, 1994 | ECM New Series

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Jazz - Released January 21, 1994 | ECM

On this CD Jan Garbarek (doubling on tenor and soprano) is accompanied only by Anouar Brahem on oud and Ustad Shaukat Hussain's tabla. Garbarek shows off his distinctive tones and lyricism on a set of gradually developing group originals, two of which are based on traditional Norwegian melodies. It may take some time for listeners to get into this music and notice the fire beneath the ice but the close communication between the players is apparent from the start. Jan Garbarek has succeeded in carving out his own unique niche in improvised music and Madar (which also has individual features for Brahem and Shaukat) is a good example of how he can create a great deal out of what seems like very little. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released March 22, 1996 | ECM

Apart from David Sanborn, probably no living saxophonist has a more instantly recognizable voice than Jan Garbarek; actually, given the fact that Sanborn's sound is so widely copied, Garbarek's may be easier to identify in a blindfold test. This album in particular puts that sound front and center. Garbarek's the show; he composed all of the music, and is essentially the only soloist. The music (much of which was composed as soundtrack material for film or video) is quintessential Garbarek, full of the world music influences that have characterized his work since the 1970s. Garbarek's resonant, carefully articulated tenor and soprano tone suits the spacious, minor/modal themes. He's as much a singer as instrumentalist. Garbarek also plays digital synthesizers, mostly as string or flute pads underneath the folkish melodies. The record's most notable secondary player is Garbarek's ECM labelmate, the bassist Eberhard Weber, whose lyric sensibility is a virtual mirror of Garbarek's. This is quiet, contemplative music for the most part -- attractive, but not superficially pretty. Its grooves are less celebratory than melancholic. There's an intensity here borne of deep concentration and commitment to beauty. Garbarek has come a long way since his early days as a quasi-free jazz experimentalist. This music is not jazz, nor is it experimental. But it is compelling in its way, representative of a first-rate creative musician, beyond category. ~ Chris Kelsey
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Jazz - Released January 25, 1999 | ECM

Since the late '70s, Jan Garbarek has been carving out a place within jazz for the folk and spiritual traditions of the indigenous peoples of Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and finally of those people all over the world. Rites, a double CD, is his attempt at forging a synthesis that takes improvisation into the heart of ritual music and creates a new form of spiritual from them both. Using a strategy for each of the discs, the first one digs deep into the spiritual and mystical side of his language. Garbarek plays soprano and tenor as well as synthesizers, drum machines, and samples -- always understated, always elegant -- and utilizes the talents of some of his running mates as well as new ones. Rainer Bruninghaus appears sporadically throughout, as does bassist Eberhard Weber, and drummer/percussion wizard Marilyn Mazur is ubiquitous. The music is slow, tenuous, and repetitive. It hardly matters -- on disc one, anyway -- which of the pieces are being played. All of them have spare, chant-like melodies that are lifted by myriad percussion instruments and keyboards, which provide a spacious ambience in which to enfold them both. Even Garbarek's trademark icy saxophone -- usually made more so by Manfred Eicher's production -- is warm, watery, and deeply entrenched in this warm mix that falls over listeners like a fine meditation blanket; like that blanket, it begins to stir emotions from deep within the heart of the listener. While these songs all segue into one another, it is worth noting that Garbarek recut "It's OK to Listen to the Grey Voice" for this collection, where it's performed with deeper conviction and fits better than it did on the album it was named for. Disc two of Rites is a bit of a different story. While the music is indeed intended for ritual, it comes from the celebratory side of the aisle rather than the contemplative one. Here are dances, Garbarek's versions of gospel shouts, processionals, festival waltzes, and all manner of joyful ceremonies completing the circle. On one collection, listeners get music for prayer, contemplation, and grief, as well as a funky European read of indigenous music for moving to and celebrating. Clearly this is what sets Rites above Garbarek's other recordings, him taking that balance he possessed so early in his career back again and putting it to work in a near-sacred setting. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released September 27, 2004 | ECM

It has been six years since saxophonist/composer Jan Garbarek issued a new recording under his own name. For In Praise of Dreams Garbarek enlisted violist Kim Kashkashian and frequent collaborator Manu Katché on drums. Garbarek, who composed the album's 11 selections, plays saxophones as well as a host of keyboards and percussion, while Katché plays acoustic and electronic drums along with Kashkashian's viola. In many ways this is the most radical recording that Garbarek has ever issued, but not because it's outside -- quite the opposite. This is easily the warmest, most accessible outing Garbarek has ever issued because though there are no vocals, Garbarek has clearly written "songs" on this set, with identifiable structures that are followed almost throughout. Though he is no stranger to the form, having employed it almost continually for the last 20 years, he has never engaged it so thoroughly and completely. Previously, he has engaged improvisation to get song to the breaking point and move it somewhere else. Here it is always present; surprise happens inside the formal frameworks of these compositions. Beautiful, soulful lines underscore and recontextualize the saxophonist's trademark Nordic iciness of tone on the opener, "As Seen from Above," with its spiraling soprano, lush keyboards, and hypnotic loops. In its warmth, it comes very close to a distinctly European kind of groove/soul-jazz. The interplay between Kashkashian and Garbarek on the title track offers rounded, multidimensional sonorities winding through the intro before spilling into a call-and-response melody. The repetitive keyboard line and Katché's mantra-like drumming under the loops draw the listener inside the song's heart and extend the edge for the front line. The restrained romanticism shown by Kashkashian on her nocturnal solo intro to "One Goes There Alone" is nearly breathtaking. As it gives way to the tune itself, it's slow, reflective, and rooted deeply in the tension created between percussion and Garbarek's minimal backing response lines. When he solos later in the tune, he's clearly blowing blues into her elegiac line. The blues notion continues in his phrasing on "Knot of Place and Time," slipping through the landscape of Kashkashian's elegant, near heartbreakingly poetic soundscape. And so it goes. Things get more speculative on "Scene from Afar" and "Cloud of Unknowing," but it hardly matters since these song forms are nonetheless immediately recognizable, presenting the nether side of the equation. It emerges again with "Conversation With a Stone" and whispers to a close with "A Tale Begun," a mantra-like duet that closes this strong set that will undoubtedly, if it gets the opportunity to be heard, garner Jan Garbarek some new fans. Poetic, moving, and marvelous, In Praise of Dreams is a welcome return. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released November 4, 2008 | ECM

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Jazz - Released August 31, 1992 | ECM

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Jazz - Released April 7, 2017 | ECM

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Jazz - Released March 31, 2017 | ECM

Jan Garbarek is the quintessential ECM artiste -- adventurous; disdainful of categories; in possession of a wailing tone well-suited to producer Manfred Eicher's reverberant, airy sonic tastes; and a devotee of the school of wide open spaces without clutter. The latter two points are important, for they unify what might otherwise be a wildly scattered collection of shooting asteroids into a single orbit. Giving all of this eclecticism some general shape, disc one of Garbarek's Rarum volume deals with his sessions as a leader, often with the ethereal mood in play, while the second disc is devoted to the Norwegian saxophonist's collaborations with his celebrated friends from Europe and America over a 22-year span. The first disc has a carefully terraced sense of flow from start to finish, with the opening horn calls of "Skrik & Hyl" and "Viddene" sounding as if they came from high on a mountaintop, with bass, then guitar, then pipe organ as backdrops. With "Lillekort," things get moving in a light Brazilian bag with Nana Vasconcelos providing the groove and the nicely striding "It's OK to Listen to the Gray Voice." The set then veers into some ethereal solo tracks, where Garbarek works with tapes of himself on excerpts from the albums All Those Born With Wings and Legend of the Seven Dreams and reaches a peak of energy on the penultimate track, the title tune of the Twelve Moons album. Within this overall context, the lengthy "Raga I," with a host of Indian musicians, seems not at all out of place, nor is Shankar's playful "Song for Everyone" on disc two. Paying homage where homage is due, four of the first five tracks of disc two are some of Garbarek's collaborations with Keith Jarrett in the '70s -- ranging from the esoteric (the lugubriously orchestrated "Windsong" from Luminessence) to some snapshots of the Jarrett European quartet that put Garbarek on the map. Interestingly, in Jarrett's Rarum volume, the pianist writes that he would have liked to have included "Sunshine Song" (from Nude Ants) and a track from Luminessence on his own collection. What he doesn't say is that they turned up on Garbarek's album instead. A coincidence of telepathic tastes -- or concealed collusion? Aside from the European quartet tracks, the disc reverts to Garbarek's spare, freewheeling conception of sound, featuring sessions led by guitarists Ralph Towner and Egberto Gismonti, and finally a taste of Garbarek's audacious yet lovely collaboration with the early music Hilliard Ensemble. Alas, Garbarek's liner notes aren't of much use as a guide; he is merely content to thank some of his co-conspirators -- mainly Eicher and Jarrett. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Classical - Released December 11, 2015 | ECM

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Classical - Released April 1, 1999 | ECM New Series

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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | ECM New Series

Booklet
25 years on from the release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, comes Remember me, my dear, recorded during the final tour the group made in October 2014. The program is emblematic of the range of repertoire the Norwegian saxophonist and British vocal quartet explored together – from Pérotin, Hildegard von Bingen, Guillaume le Rouge, Antoine Brumel to Komitas, Arvo Pärt and more. It could be said that the Hilliard/Garbarek combination, in concert, transcended its source materials, with early music, contemporary composition and improvisation interfused in the responsive acoustics of sacred spaces. And this final album reminds us that the unique Garbarek/Hilliard combination, and its unprecedented exploration of sound, was consistently breathtaking. © ECM Records
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Jazz - Released December 11, 2015 | ECM

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Jazz - Released October 21, 1991 | ECM

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Jazz - Released October 17, 1988 | ECM

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Jazz - Released October 1, 1987 | ECM