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Jazz - Released November 5, 2021 | ECM

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For this astonishing record marking his début as a leader on the ECM label, Jorge Rossy swapped his sticks for mallets, and concentrated exclusively on that other favourite instrument of his: the vibraphone. Flanked by double bassist Robert Landfermann and drummer Jeff Ballard, the Barcelona native who came to prominence as a member of Brad Mehldau's trio between 1994 and 2005 also showcases his talents as a composer on Puerta (he wrote nine of the album's ten themes). Here, he is approaching his art with an eye for purity. "With this trio, the aim was to give the instruments plenty of room to breathe and unfold by playing fewer key notes.” And they certainly have space! This minimalist playing allows Rossy's rhythm to become one with his improvisations, and to underline the beauty of the often-dreamy melodies that make Puerta so timeless. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released November 5, 2021 | ECM

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Since his debilitating stroke in 2007, the only new music released by ECM legend Eberhard Weber has consisted of live recordings. However, those releases—2012's Résumé and 2015's Encore —were highly unusual live recordings. Rather than simple documents of a night in a concert hall featuring the German bassist performing solo or with a band, those two albums saw Weber taking solos he had performed in concert and reconfiguring and recontextualizing them into brand-new works. It was a phenomenally creative way for him to continue making new music, and one that redefined the idea of what a "live" album could be. The arrival of Once Upon A Time—a straightforward recording of a solo recital at Avignon's Théâtre des Halles in August 1994—could be seen as something of a disappointment in comparison. However, whatever creative adventurousness may be missing in terms of post-performance processing is more than made up for by the extraordinary performance that Weber delivered that evening. Far from the quintet and orchestra performance that made up his only other "proper" live album (2005's Stages of a Long Journey), Once Upon A Time finds Weber on stage alone with just his electric double bass and a loop pedal and while one may presume this would lead to a delicate and pensive performance, the show is absolutely bristling with energy. Weber is still in full possession of the atmospheric approach that made his studio albums some of the definitive "ECM sound" records of the '70s and '80s, but his pure dexterity as a bassist is also on glorious display. The performance is cosmic in breadth, with loops used intelligently and near-invisibly (it often sounds as if multiple Webers are on stage), but when Once Upon A Time gets a little funky, or Weber unleashes a barrage of rapid, fidgety fingerpicking on "Ready Out There," it's clear that the performance wasn't designed to be a somnolent affair. And while the audience is occasionally reserved and polite, when they do get on Weber's wavelength (most notably during a positively liquescent run through "My Favorite Things"), the entire affair becomes transportive. An exceptional release from a singular talent. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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CDkr153.99

Jazz - Released November 5, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
For this astonishing record marking his début as a leader on the ECM label, Jorge Rossy swapped his sticks for mallets, and concentrated exclusively on that other favourite instrument of his: the vibraphone. Flanked by double bassist Robert Landfermann and drummer Jeff Ballard, the Barcelona native who came to prominence as a member of Brad Mehldau's trio between 1994 and 2005 also showcases his talents as a composer on Puerta (he wrote nine of the album's ten themes). Here, he is approaching his art with an eye for purity. "With this trio, the aim was to give the instruments plenty of room to breathe and unfold by playing fewer key notes.” And they certainly have space! This minimalist playing allows Rossy's rhythm to become one with his improvisations, and to underline the beauty of the often-dreamy melodies that make Puerta so timeless. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 29, 2021 | ECM

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Often forgotten in the rush to celebrate rhythm and melody is one of music's most powerful ingredients: complete and utter silence. Few artists today have made quiet a part of their art in more profound ways than Japanese pianist Ayumi Tanaka. The lack of any sound whatsoever, a huge empty space in which the preceding notes can linger and resonate, has become a chief ingredient in her avant and edgy form of improvised free jazz. On Subaqueous Silence, her musical vision is supported by drummer and percussionist Per Oddvar Johansen whose intricately placed exclamations with shakers and sifting, smoky brushwork is masterful and intriguing. His presence is joined by bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen who plucks and strums with an equal ear for Tanaka's dedication to a hushed method and ultimately, some measure of musical tranquility. In this her debut as a leader, she uses long pauses in a composition like "Ruins" to great advantage, allowing a note or chord to trail off into complete silence before moving on. Unlike a lot of jazz which tends to overvalue frenetic action and reaction, Tanaka's minimalist art, spare and full of open space, can embrace a bleak edge. As peaceful as the title track is, the uncertainness and eerie sound of Svendsen playing arco bass with a bow in "Towards the Sea" gives it the feel of a ghost story getting scarier. Svendsen's use of a bow adds an odd element that sometimes sounds like a human voice while at other moments taking on more of the timbre and attack of a woodwind in "Black Rain," which grows more insistent as it continues. Capturing all the richness of her deliberate art, the album was recorded in June 2019 at the Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria in Oslo, Norway by engineers Daniel Wold and Ingar Hunskaar, and produced—as all ECM records are—by Manfred Eicher. Capturing silence has always been a potent yet overlooked part of Eicher's distinct aesthetic. An active presence on the Norwegian jazz scene, Tanaka plays in a three pianos ensemble, an open form improvising trio, and has also played with the ensemble Nakama. As her most intimate statement, Subaqueous Silence, is by its very title, a statement of Tanaka's belief that music is a fragile, mystical gift, one that demands much from the listener, and is only revealed by careful listening to every note and every empty space, rather than music as background or a gaggle of instrumental voices playing at once. Rarely has silence carried this much meaning. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 8, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
From
CDkr177.59

Jazz - Released October 29, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
Often forgotten in the rush to celebrate rhythm and melody is one of music's most powerful ingredients: complete and utter silence. Few artists today have made quiet a part of their art in more profound ways than Japanese pianist Ayumi Tanaka. The lack of any sound whatsoever, a huge empty space in which the preceding notes can linger and resonate, has become a chief ingredient in her avant and edgy form of improvised free jazz. On Subaqueous Silence, her musical vision is supported by drummer and percussionist Per Oddvar Johansen whose intricately placed exclamations with shakers and sifting, smoky brushwork is masterful and intriguing. His presence is joined by bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen who plucks and strums with an equal ear for Tanaka's dedication to a hushed method and ultimately, some measure of musical tranquility. In this her debut as a leader, she uses long pauses in a composition like "Ruins" to great advantage, allowing a note or chord to trail off into complete silence before moving on. Unlike a lot of jazz which tends to overvalue frenetic action and reaction, Tanaka's minimalist art, spare and full of open space, can embrace a bleak edge. As peaceful as the title track is, the uncertainness and eerie sound of Svendsen playing arco bass with a bow in "Towards the Sea" gives it the feel of a ghost story getting scarier. Svendsen's use of a bow adds an odd element that sometimes sounds like a human voice while at other moments taking on more of the timbre and attack of a woodwind in "Black Rain," which grows more insistent as it continues. Capturing all the richness of her deliberate art, the album was recorded in June 2019 at the Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria in Oslo, Norway by engineers Daniel Wold and Ingar Hunskaar, and produced—as all ECM records are—by Manfred Eicher. Capturing silence has always been a potent yet overlooked part of Eicher's distinct aesthetic. An active presence on the Norwegian jazz scene, Tanaka plays in a three pianos ensemble, an open form improvising trio, and has also played with the ensemble Nakama. As her most intimate statement, Subaqueous Silence, is by its very title, a statement of Tanaka's belief that music is a fragile, mystical gift, one that demands much from the listener, and is only revealed by careful listening to every note and every empty space, rather than music as background or a gaggle of instrumental voices playing at once. Rarely has silence carried this much meaning. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 8, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
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Jazz - Released October 8, 2021 | ECM

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On his first solo piano masterpiece, 2011's Avenging Angel, Craig Taborn added his voice to the proud ECM tradition of keyboard greats, a list that includes Chick Corea, Vijay Iyer, Paul Bley and especially Keith Jarrett. As a sideman with saxophonists James Carter and Chris Potter, a skilled player and composer of electronic music, and later a contributor in a variety of contexts led by jazz notables such as Paul Motian, Dave Holland and Bill Frisell, the Minnesota-born Taborn has fashioned one of the most spiritually rewarding and musically adventurous careers in jazz today. Besides his ability to contribute in various musical milieus, Taborn has two extra special musical talents: he's a master at the stiff, difficult (but wonderfully distinct) Fender Rhodes and he's an enormously talented free improviser who can sit at the piano and spontaneously create entire concerts such as Shadow Plays using tones, textures and his own seemingly limitless imagination to revel in kaleidoscopic discovery on solo piano. Produced by ECM's visionary founder Manfred Eicher and exquisitely recorded live at the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna, Shadow Plays is the opposite of a passive listen. The ear is immediately drawn in by the profound silences and chiming single notes of "Bird Templars" and held rapt throughout these seven longish tracks by the ingenuity and prowess of Taborn's stream of consciousness creativity. Rarely has one man on one instrument produced this many sounds, this many ideas, tempos, echoes, sustained notes and multi-colored moods in a single program of recordings. Having stated in interviews that he's interested in trying to "extend boundaries" and how as an improviser he's both "creating and observing at the same time," he launches into the exuberant opening of "Conspiracy of Things," resorting to showers of single notes, repeated figures that rise and fall in volume, and dramatic strokes across the keyboard. And as a player who says he's interested in the avant-garde but yet likes to "swing," Tarborn manages in pieces here like the title track to create a precise intellectual exercise that is somehow also deeply personal, frenetically percussive and thoughtfully subtle. This is jazz in only the faintest of outlines. An acquired taste to be sure, Taborn's very individualistic shaping and invention of music is full of wit, wisdom and erudition: by any other name genius! © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 8, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
On his first solo piano masterpiece, 2011's Avenging Angel, Craig Taborn added his voice to the proud ECM tradition of keyboard greats, a list that includes Chick Corea, Vijay Iyer, Paul Bley and especially Keith Jarrett. As a sideman with saxophonists James Carter and Chris Potter, a skilled player and composer of electronic music, and later a contributor in a variety of contexts led by jazz notables such as Paul Motian, Dave Holland and Bill Frisell, the Minnesota-born Taborn has fashioned one of the most spiritually rewarding and musically adventurous careers in jazz today. Besides his ability to contribute in various musical milieus, Taborn has two extra special musical talents: he's a master at the stiff, difficult (but wonderfully distinct) Fender Rhodes and he's an enormously talented free improviser who can sit at the piano and spontaneously create entire concerts such as Shadow Plays using tones, textures and his own seemingly limitless imagination to revel in kaleidoscopic discovery on solo piano. Produced by ECM's visionary founder Manfred Eicher and exquisitely recorded live at the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna, Shadow Plays is the opposite of a passive listen. The ear is immediately drawn in by the profound silences and chiming single notes of "Bird Templars" and held rapt throughout these seven longish tracks by the ingenuity and prowess of Taborn's stream of consciousness creativity. Rarely has one man on one instrument produced this many sounds, this many ideas, tempos, echoes, sustained notes and multi-colored moods in a single program of recordings. Having stated in interviews that he's interested in trying to "extend boundaries" and how as an improviser he's both "creating and observing at the same time," he launches into the exuberant opening of "Conspiracy of Things," resorting to showers of single notes, repeated figures that rise and fall in volume, and dramatic strokes across the keyboard. And as a player who says he's interested in the avant-garde but yet likes to "swing," Tarborn manages in pieces here like the title track to create a precise intellectual exercise that is somehow also deeply personal, frenetically percussive and thoughtfully subtle. This is jazz in only the faintest of outlines. An acquired taste to be sure, Taborn's very individualistic shaping and invention of music is full of wit, wisdom and erudition: by any other name genius! © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 24, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
When We Leave is trumpeter/composer Mathias Eick's fifth leader outing for ECM and his first since 2018's acclaimed Ravensburg. Recorded over two days in November 2020, his sidemen include violinist Håkon Aase, pianist Andreas Ulvo, bassist Auden Erlien, drummers Thorstein Lofthus and Helge Norbakken, and pedal steel guitarist Stian Carstensen. All but the steel player -- who has also worked with Eick before -- appeared on Ravensburg. The trumpeter composed all seven pieces here; they are each identified by a single-word title. Fans of Jaga Jazzist, Eick's other band, will need to adjust their expectations. These compositions reflect the trumpeter's long-held preoccupation with the murky spaces between folk music and modern European jazz. Opener "Loving" offers a drifting, moody piano playing elegiac chords that introduce a lithe lyric line played by trumpet and violin. The two lead instruments circle one another and gradually, as the drummers begin to exchange phrases and time signatures as accents for the frontline players, engage major and minor modes before Aase delivers a sumptuous solo complemented by fills from Ulvo. "Turning" is introduced by plucked violin and bass before piano, violin, and trumpet cascade in a languid, vamp-like melody. Eick's lyricism offers staggered cadences for doubled brass and string harmonies. They add levels of depth and dimension that resist easy classification. The trumpeter's solo, while brief, elevates the tune's entire dramatic premise. While "Flying" appears improvised initially, it opens to express a sparse, even skeletal piano melody that Carstensen and Eick hover over and dole out in single lines for the other players to improvise on. "Arvo," obviously inspired by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, commences with a wispy Gregorian chant feel as Eick's trumpet, wordless vocals, and Aase's spectral violin exchange phrases, lines, and a mode. The drummers then enter one at a time, followed by Erlien and finally Carstensen, who adds sweeping chord voicings and canny pedal work to elevate the entire proceeding texturally and dynamically. It actually approaches the orchestral until the drummer's snares engage in staggered, nearly martial breakbeat rhythms. "Playing" follows logically. Carstensen controls the tune's body as the two drummers speak in a somewhat urgent processional language. Eick and Aase converse along the economically notated lyric line. Closer "Begging" sounds like a benediction or an exit hymn. It's slow, atmospheric, and at once pastoral and regal. The delicacy in Eick's aching melody expressionistically weds the sacred and the natural worlds while the pianist walks out the changes as an affirmation, and both drummers employ brushes in painting the backdrop with whispering cymbals and snares. Carstensen and Aase speak directly to Eick's lyric solo, embellishing it with textured phrases and elongated octave notes. Eick's composing on When We Leave is muted yet rich, lovely, and sophisticated. He understands exactly how to write to this particular ensemble's strengths, and draws them out individually to express, along with him, longing and vulnerability. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
From
CDkr109.99

Jazz - Released September 24, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
When We Leave is trumpeter/composer Mathias Eick's fifth leader outing for ECM and his first since 2018's acclaimed Ravensburg. Recorded over two days in November 2020, his sidemen include violinist Håkon Aase, pianist Andreas Ulvo, bassist Auden Erlien, drummers Thorstein Lofthus and Helge Norbakken, and pedal steel guitarist Stian Carstensen. All but the steel player -- who has also worked with Eick before -- appeared on Ravensburg. The trumpeter composed all seven pieces here; they are each identified by a single-word title. Fans of Jaga Jazzist, Eick's other band, will need to adjust their expectations. These compositions reflect the trumpeter's long-held preoccupation with the murky spaces between folk music and modern European jazz. Opener "Loving" offers a drifting, moody piano playing elegiac chords that introduce a lithe lyric line played by trumpet and violin. The two lead instruments circle one another and gradually, as the drummers begin to exchange phrases and time signatures as accents for the frontline players, engage major and minor modes before Aase delivers a sumptuous solo complemented by fills from Ulvo. "Turning" is introduced by plucked violin and bass before piano, violin, and trumpet cascade in a languid, vamp-like melody. Eick's lyricism offers staggered cadences for doubled brass and string harmonies. They add levels of depth and dimension that resist easy classification. The trumpeter's solo, while brief, elevates the tune's entire dramatic premise. While "Flying" appears improvised initially, it opens to express a sparse, even skeletal piano melody that Carstensen and Eick hover over and dole out in single lines for the other players to improvise on. "Arvo," obviously inspired by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, commences with a wispy Gregorian chant feel as Eick's trumpet, wordless vocals, and Aase's spectral violin exchange phrases, lines, and a mode. The drummers then enter one at a time, followed by Erlien and finally Carstensen, who adds sweeping chord voicings and canny pedal work to elevate the entire proceeding texturally and dynamically. It actually approaches the orchestral until the drummer's snares engage in staggered, nearly martial breakbeat rhythms. "Playing" follows logically. Carstensen controls the tune's body as the two drummers speak in a somewhat urgent processional language. Eick and Aase converse along the economically notated lyric line. Closer "Begging" sounds like a benediction or an exit hymn. It's slow, atmospheric, and at once pastoral and regal. The delicacy in Eick's aching melody expressionistically weds the sacred and the natural worlds while the pianist walks out the changes as an affirmation, and both drummers employ brushes in painting the backdrop with whispering cymbals and snares. Carstensen and Aase speak directly to Eick's lyric solo, embellishing it with textured phrases and elongated octave notes. Eick's composing on When We Leave is muted yet rich, lovely, and sophisticated. He understands exactly how to write to this particular ensemble's strengths, and draws them out individually to express, along with him, longing and vulnerability. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 10, 2021 | ECM

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Jazz - Released September 10, 2021 | ECM

Booklet

Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
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Before he was able to carve out his own identity, Marc Johnson was known for many years as "Bill Evans' last bassist", a glorious gig which boosted his reputation and enabled him to launch the excellent group Bass Desires with John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Peter Erskine, a few years after Evans' death. What followed was a mixture of tasteful collaborations with people as eclectic as Mel Lewis, Jim Hall, Stan Getz, John Abercrombie, Michael Brecker, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Enrico Pieranunzi and, his wife, Eliane Elias... At 67 years of age, Marc Johnson brought out Overpass, recorded in January and February of 2018 at the Nacema studio in São Paulo and co-produced with Eliane Elias. An entirely solo album for ECM, a label that is fond of solo records by double bassists. This is the kind of material that promotes introspection, and retrospection too. It is therefore not surprising that Overpass contains the Miles Davis standard Nardis, a cornerstone of Bill Evans' repertoire, as well as Alex North's Love Theme from Spartacus, another of the pianist's favourite compositions. Marc Johnson has written five original compositions, including Samurai Fly, a sort of facelift for Samurai Hee-Haw recorded in the past for ECM with Bass Desires and with John Abercrombie's trio. Each song follows on from the other with impressive flexibility. Johnson's full, rounded-out sound and the finesse of his timing help save us from four-string overdose. This type of solo exercise is hard to sustain across an entire album, but the American bassist always keeps a serious sense of narrative in mind, constantly developing new ideas and high-flying improvisations. Overall, it's impressive. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
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At 81, master drummer Andrew Cyrille shows no signs of slowing down. He signed to ECM for 2016's brilliant quartet offering Declaration of Musical Independence, which included guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Richard Teitelbaum, and bassist Ben Street. For 2018's Lebroba, he delivered a trio outing with the guitarist and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. Cyrille returns to the quartet format on The News, with Street, Frisell, and pianist David Virelles (replacing Teitelbaum, who died in 2020). The drummer, pianist, and bassist all worked together before on Virelles' masterful 2012 album Continuum. Cyrille's remarkable diversity and focus have been displayed with many leaders, from Coleman Hawkins and Walt Dickerson to Carla Bley and Cecil Taylor. While he is a sublime timekeeper, Cyrille is better known as a time stretcher and space maker. His playing trademark is not force or swing, but indelible presence. "Mountain" is one of three tunes that was penned by Frisell, whose impressionistic Telecaster allows melody to fall from a smaller palette of chord voicings that begin in a major key, then fall slightly outside as Virelles and Street embellish around and through them. Cyrille frames the tune with singing cymbal work, low-tuned snares, and tom-toms that find a dance rhythm in the minimal melody. In an exchange with Virelles during the pianist's solo, Cyrille moves underneath with layered cymbals and hi-hat to draw the music from ether to foreground. While the drummer acts as a textural investigator during the first half of Steve Colson's "Leaving East of Java," he becomes both interlocutor and engine during its second half, subtly yet insistently pushing the band forward. Frisell's Monk-esque blues "Go Happy Lucky" offers the guitarist soloing along the melody with Street, while Virelles and Cyrille flow together behind the groove. "The News" is a conceptual piece Cyrille initially cut during the 1970s as a solo percussion work. Here he places a newspaper over the snare and toms, then plays them with brushes. Frisell adds fragmented chords, and restrained yet rumbling distortion, while Virelles layers droning synth under his piano as Street alternates between single notes and bowed chords. The pianist's "Incienso" emerges from a minimal melody that weds Brazilian folk music and post-bop as the band creates a spacious groove in the margins. "Dance of the Nuances," co-composed by pianist and bandleader, loosely threads together ambient and experimental music with electronics around a haunting minor-key melody. Cyrille introduces the closer "With You in Mind" by reciting a tender poem. Virelles and Street enter in duo, framing the elegant yet elliptical balladic structure and harmony economically. Frisell and Cyrille enter halfway through. The guitarist expands the melodic invention as Cyrille adds hushed snare and cymbals, gently carving out space inside the lyric. As a whole, The News is a master class in the less-is-more approach to drumming as well as ensemble play. Brilliant. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
Download not available
At 81, master drummer Andrew Cyrille shows no signs of slowing down. He signed to ECM for 2016's brilliant quartet offering Declaration of Musical Independence, which included guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Richard Teitelbaum, and bassist Ben Street. For 2018's Lebroba, he delivered a trio outing with the guitarist and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. Cyrille returns to the quartet format on The News, with Street, Frisell, and pianist David Virelles (replacing Teitelbaum, who died in 2020). The drummer, pianist, and bassist all worked together before on Virelles' masterful 2012 album Continuum. Cyrille's remarkable diversity and focus have been displayed with many leaders, from Coleman Hawkins and Walt Dickerson to Carla Bley and Cecil Taylor. While he is a sublime timekeeper, Cyrille is better known as a time stretcher and space maker. His playing trademark is not force or swing, but indelible presence. "Mountain" is one of three tunes that was penned by Frisell, whose impressionistic Telecaster allows melody to fall from a smaller palette of chord voicings that begin in a major key, then fall slightly outside as Virelles and Street embellish around and through them. Cyrille frames the tune with singing cymbal work, low-tuned snares, and tom-toms that find a dance rhythm in the minimal melody. In an exchange with Virelles during the pianist's solo, Cyrille moves underneath with layered cymbals and hi-hat to draw the music from ether to foreground. While the drummer acts as a textural investigator during the first half of Steve Colson's "Leaving East of Java," he becomes both interlocutor and engine during its second half, subtly yet insistently pushing the band forward. Frisell's Monk-esque blues "Go Happy Lucky" offers the guitarist soloing along the melody with Street, while Virelles and Cyrille flow together behind the groove. "The News" is a conceptual piece Cyrille initially cut during the 1970s as a solo percussion work. Here he places a newspaper over the snare and toms, then plays them with brushes. Frisell adds fragmented chords, and restrained yet rumbling distortion, while Virelles layers droning synth under his piano as Street alternates between single notes and bowed chords. The pianist's "Incienso" emerges from a minimal melody that weds Brazilian folk music and post-bop as the band creates a spacious groove in the margins. "Dance of the Nuances," co-composed by pianist and bandleader, loosely threads together ambient and experimental music with electronics around a haunting minor-key melody. Cyrille introduces the closer "With You in Mind" by reciting a tender poem. Virelles and Street enter in duo, framing the elegant yet elliptical balladic structure and harmony economically. Frisell and Cyrille enter halfway through. The guitarist expands the melodic invention as Cyrille adds hushed snare and cymbals, gently carving out space inside the lyric. As a whole, The News is a master class in the less-is-more approach to drumming as well as ensemble play. Brilliant. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
Download not available
Before he was able to carve out his own identity, Marc Johnson was known for many years as "Bill Evans' last bassist", a glorious gig which boosted his reputation and enabled him to launch the excellent group Bass Desires with John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Peter Erskine, a few years after Evans' death. What followed was a mixture of tasteful collaborations with people as eclectic as Mel Lewis, Jim Hall, Stan Getz, John Abercrombie, Michael Brecker, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Enrico Pieranunzi and, his wife, Eliane Elias... At 67 years of age, Marc Johnson brought out Overpass, recorded in January and February of 2018 at the Nacema studio in São Paulo and co-produced with Eliane Elias. An entirely solo album for ECM, a label that is fond of solo records by double bassists. This is the kind of material that promotes introspection, and retrospection too. It is therefore not surprising that Overpass contains the Miles Davis standard Nardis, a cornerstone of Bill Evans' repertoire, as well as Alex North's Love Theme from Spartacus, another of the pianist's favourite compositions. Marc Johnson has written five original compositions, including Samurai Fly, a sort of facelift for Samurai Hee-Haw recorded in the past for ECM with Bass Desires and with John Abercrombie's trio. Each song follows on from the other with impressive flexibility. Johnson's full, rounded-out sound and the finesse of his timing help save us from four-string overdose. This type of solo exercise is hard to sustain across an entire album, but the American bassist always keeps a serious sense of narrative in mind, constantly developing new ideas and high-flying improvisations. Overall, it's impressive. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
From
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Jazz - Released July 16, 2021 | ECM

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Jazz - Released July 16, 2021 | ECM

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Jazz - Released June 18, 2021 | ECM

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ECM in the magazine
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    Yonathan Avishai | One Cover One Word At the time of the release of "Playing the Room" in September 2019, we were lucky enough to talk to both halves of the duo who recorded the album. This time, it's the pianist Yonathan Avishai who g...
  • Avishai Cohen | One Cover One Word
    Avishai Cohen | One Cover One Word We had the opportunity to sit down with the Israeli trumpeter last year at the time of the release of "Playing the Room", the duo album he made with the pianist Yonathan Avishai. This One Cover One...
  • ECM turns 50!
    ECM turns 50! Manfred Eicher’s Munich-born music label celebrates half a century of jazz different from the norms, bringing the traditionally African-American genre to Europe and beyond…
  • Exclusive Qobuz interview with Anouar Brahem
    Exclusive Qobuz interview with Anouar Brahem We sat down with the Tunisian Oud player who released the elegant "Blue Maqams", an album with a jazz core, recorded with Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette and Django Bates...
  • Roscoe Mitchell, freely...
    Roscoe Mitchell, freely... The great free jazz saxophonist signs a demanding and impressive work ...