Founded by producer Manfred Eicher in 1969, ECM has to date issued more than 1200 albums spanning many idioms. After establishing an early reputation with standard-setting jazz recordings by Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and others, ECM began to include contemporary composition – including Steve Reich’s landmark “Music for 18 Musicians” – in its programme in the late 1970s; Eicher’s own background, as a musician active in both jazz and classical music, provided an unusually broad vantage point from which to survey, and influence, the genres. The label has documented jazz and improvised music from both sides of the Atlantic and brought together many musicians in new and influential combinations, amongst them the Chick Corea/Gary Burton duo, the ‘Belonging’ band with Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen, the ‘Magico’ trio of Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti and Charlie Haden... the list goes on.
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Jazz - Released January 19, 2018 | ECM
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
With a huge variety of sources and influences, Bobo Stenson’s music is never limited to a single territory. He’s not really the kind of Swedish pianist who throws himself into the wide range of improvised music, be it jazz or other genres. He is very much in line with the ECM aesthetic, the label on which he has been one of the most prominent musicians for over four decades… His Swedish trio (Anders Jormin on the double bass and Jon Fält on the drums) makes a stand in the ever so indecisive world of 2017 with this Contra La Indecisión, an album as magnificent as it is decisive. Staying true to themselves, the group supports the originality of their approach here. In addition to collective improvisations and original compositions signed by Stenson and Jormin, we find on the menu the piece which gives the album its name, composed by the Cuban Silvio Rodríguez as well as the adaption of a Slovak folk song signed by Béla Bartók, an extract from Cançons I Danses by Federico Mompou and even the famous Elégie by Erik Satie! The physical and mental force of the trio and the individuality of each of its members is such that all these influences come to blend coherently into an organic whole of profound originality. With Stenson’s lyrical touch as well as Jordan’s folk tinged phrasing make Contra La Indecisión as exquisite as possible… © MZ/Qobuz
Jazz - Released May 8, 2015 | ECM
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One of the best recordings for Keith Jarrett's mid-'70s American quartet (whose style differed sharply from its European doppelgänger), The Survivors' Suite opens with Jarrett's aching, breathy sigh on the bass recorder, evoking the sound of a horn somewhere across a great expanse of fog. Percussion soon punctuates the melodic line to give the opening a more spiritual, ritualistic feel, which is only the first of many mutations that this album will go through. Divided into two parts, entitled "Beginning" and "Conclusion," this suite effortlessly flows between its movements which range from fiery free jazz to open, meditative atmospheric pieces showing heavy input from indigenous musics to instrumental solos that owe a sylistic debt to the music of the previous decade. Jarrett has strong solos in both the first and second track, but his performances rise to the surface frequently to add warmth to the suite. The greatest contribution that he makes on this album, however, is as a composer, as its complex components seem to nestle together seamlessly again and again, even if the solos occasionally rapidly expand and contract with kinetic energy. As strong a hand as Jarrett has in this album, however, he definitely owes a debt to his supporting players, especially the passionate Dewey Redman and skilled Paul Motian, but Charlie Haden plays an important role in the execution of the suite as well, even if only to provide a skeleton to hang the more fluid elements on. Like other albums of its time, this was beginning to show the brightness, lightness, and soft edges of contemporary jazz, but the solidness of Haden's bass helps keep it rooted and earthbound. ~ Stacia Proefrock
Vocal Jazz - Released October 3, 2000 | ECM
Annette Peacock has been a defining influence on the music of ECM for many years, but An Acrobat's Heart is the first album she has made for the label as a leader. Here Peacock turns away from her previous work with electronic elements to produce a spare, ethereal set of compositions for voice, piano, and strings echoing the style of her early '80s album Skyskating. An Acrobat's Heart also marks the first time that Peacock has composed for strings, and the Cikada String Quartet's seamless accompaniment almost breathes with her. Silence and minimalism play major roles in this work, and both Peacock's voice and the accompanying instrumentation seem to bloom up from the quiet background and then dissipate again as quickly they appeared. The tones are clear and precise, but occasionally veer into dissonance as Peacock's wistful lyrics are fleshed out into holograms of sound, transparent but fully realized. Elements of jazz, blues, and torch songs ebb and flow throughout the album, adding to the nostalgic themes of romance and longing embodied by the lyrics. While seeming deeply personal, the lyrics are the weakest element of An Acrobat's Heart, lacking in the kind of poetic imagery and rhythm that would place them on a par with the quality of the surrounding music. Overall, however, this album proves that after over three decades as a performer, Annette Peacock still has the skill to compose and execute truly beautiful music. ~ Stacia Proefrock
Classical - Released November 1, 1976 | ECM
This album was originally released as part of the two-disc HYMNS/SPHERES. SPHERES is presented in four movements, all of which are improvisations on a baroque organ at the Benedictine Abbey in Ottobeuren, Germany. At the time of this recording Jarrett was enjoying considerable success with his solo piano recordings (in particular THE KOLN CONCERT and the mammoth SUN BEAR CONCERTS). However, where those performances are imbued with a certain gospel-tinged brightness and syncopation, SPHERES is decidedly slower. Given the nature of the organ itself, Jarrett turns his inquisitive musical sensibilities to pushing the possibilities of contrasting tonalities and long held note clusters. The pieces are at once regal and experimental. There's a vivid sense of space captured in the crystal clear production; the organ's timbres seem to dance through the abbey's centuries-old structure.