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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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World - Released June 11, 2021 | ECM

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Jazz - Released April 23, 2021 | ECM

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Jazz - Released April 23, 2021 | ECM

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Jazz - Released April 9, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Although it stems from a work that Iyer originally crafted back in 2011, one could hardly imagine a better title for a 2021 album release than Uneasy. As the world wobbles onto its post-pandemic footing and the United States begins to take stock of the social and political toll from years of continued divisiveness, any optimism or forward motion one may feel is almost always tempered by the reality of that which came before. That anger and frustration with the past and the resultant realism about the future is at the core of the pianist's first trio album for ECM since 2015's Break Stuff. Like that outing, Uneasy relies on tight, confident interplay between three highly skilled and unique musicians, but this lineup is all new, featuring double-bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Iyer's skills as a player, composer, and collaborator have since grown considerably and Uneasy is an excellent showcase for all of them. "Children of Flint" and "Combat Breathing" are stunning compositions, focusing on the human costs of political negligence and malfeasance, forces that have unmistakably driven the uneasiness behind the album's title. "Children of Flint" is the more rigorous of the two, opening the album in a dramatically unfolding manner, but "Combat Breathing" definitely holds its own, finding a sturdy groove that's fueled by fire—not funk—and culminating in a cluster of sonics that evaporates into the ether like so much tear gas. The interplay between the three players is remarkable throughout, most notably on the dramatic "Entrustment," which relies on telepathic communication between the rhythm section and Iyer's piano; likewise, "Retrofit"—a piece written for sextet and appropriately complex—gets handled deftly by these three, giving each plenty of opportunity to shine. Of course, it's Iyer's piano work that holds down the entire affair, and as he wends through the dense, melodic "Touba," he manages to evoke Coltrane's spiritual-era changes, but with a more pensive vibe, while on the solo piece "Augury," his playing is both insistent and introspective. On Uneasy, Iyer continues his unique balancing act of presenting complex and demanding compositional ideas in a framework that's welcoming and accessible, with players who see eye-to-eye and can help execute that vision in a way that's imaginative and invigorating. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 9, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
In general, every new adventure launched by Thomas Strønen is powerfully unique. The Norwegian drummer has retained the Japanese pianist Ayumi Tanaka from his strangely-named ensemble Time Is A Blind Guide, and invited the clarinettist, percussionist and singer Marthe Lea to join the trio. This trio, formed at the Royal Academy of Music in Oslo, have been meeting once a week for almost two years. That's two years of exploration mixing jazz, contemporary, classical and folk music. "Sometimes", says Strønen, "the music was very quiet and minimalist. Playing together generated special experiences." The trio then met in August 2018 in a studio in Lugano, with ECM's Manfred Eicher behind the console, setting down the sparks from their conversations in the wax... and they really were sparks! The sparks created open, delicate and adventurous music, sometimes marked by salutary notes of tension, carried by Strønen's light drumming and Tanaka's piano interplay, whilst occasionally haunted by the ghost of Paul Bley... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 9, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
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Jazz - Released April 9, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
Although it stems from a work that Iyer originally crafted back in 2011, one could hardly imagine a better title for a 2021 album release than Uneasy. As the world wobbles onto its post-pandemic footing and the United States begins to take stock of the social and political toll from years of continued divisiveness, any optimism or forward motion one may feel is almost always tempered by the reality of that which came before. That anger and frustration with the past and the resultant realism about the future is at the core of the pianist's first trio album for ECM since 2015's Break Stuff. Like that outing, Uneasy relies on tight, confident interplay between three highly skilled and unique musicians, but this lineup is all new, featuring double-bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Iyer's skills as a player, composer, and collaborator have since grown considerably and Uneasy is an excellent showcase for all of them. "Children of Flint" and "Combat Breathing" are stunning compositions, focusing on the human costs of political negligence and malfeasance, forces that have unmistakably driven the uneasiness behind the album's title. "Children of Flint" is the more rigorous of the two, opening the album in a dramatically unfolding manner, but "Combat Breathing" definitely holds its own, finding a sturdy groove that's fueled by fire—not funk—and culminating in a cluster of sonics that evaporates into the ether like so much tear gas. The interplay between the three players is remarkable throughout, most notably on the dramatic "Entrustment," which relies on telepathic communication between the rhythm section and Iyer's piano; likewise, "Retrofit"—a piece written for sextet and appropriately complex—gets handled deftly by these three, giving each plenty of opportunity to shine. Of course, it's Iyer's piano work that holds down the entire affair, and as he wends through the dense, melodic "Touba," he manages to evoke Coltrane's spiritual-era changes, but with a more pensive vibe, while on the solo piece "Augury," his playing is both insistent and introspective. On Uneasy, Iyer continues his unique balancing act of presenting complex and demanding compositional ideas in a framework that's welcoming and accessible, with players who see eye-to-eye and can help execute that vision in a way that's imaginative and invigorating. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 9, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
In general, every new adventure launched by Thomas Strønen is powerfully unique. The Norwegian drummer has retained the Japanese pianist Ayumi Tanaka from his strangely-named ensemble Time Is A Blind Guide, and invited the clarinettist, percussionist and singer Marthe Lea to join the trio. This trio, formed at the Royal Academy of Music in Oslo, have been meeting once a week for almost two years. That's two years of exploration mixing jazz, contemporary, classical and folk music. "Sometimes", says Strønen, "the music was very quiet and minimalist. Playing together generated special experiences." The trio then met in August 2018 in a studio in Lugano, with ECM's Manfred Eicher behind the console, setting down the sparks from their conversations in the wax... and they really were sparks! The sparks created open, delicate and adventurous music, sometimes marked by salutary notes of tension, carried by Strønen's light drumming and Tanaka's piano interplay, whilst occasionally haunted by the ghost of Paul Bley... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 9, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
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Jazz - Released March 19, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
Baring your soul can sometimes allow you to take stock. The pandemic also plays an obvious introspective role for artists cut off from their audience and the stage. With Entendre, recorded in Lugano in September 2020, Nik Bärtsch sets aside his various outfits (Ronin, Mobile) to find himself alone at the piano. Paradoxically, the Swiss musician finds great freedom in aesthetic restrictions, while seizing the opportunities to take his music to new horizons. That project developed in parallel with his group activities. For Bärtsch, key moments included celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the ECM label at Lincoln Center in New York in 2019, and his collaboration with artist and videographer Sophie Clements. Then there was his 2017 solo piano tour, which took him to Tehran, Alexandria, Cairo, Calcutta and Delhi, which sparked his reflection on the relationship between performance and ritual music in different cultures. Those elements and experiences fed into the preparatory work for Entendre…The numbered pieces entitled Modul, five of the six tracks on the album, seem more like models than fixed, definitive compositions. Bärtsch likens them to “a basic training in martial arts, which can be adapted to all sorts of situations. My way of working is to create new contexts. Each piece plays with the idea of composition, interpretation and improvisation, and is nourished by the same force, yet can create very surprising results”. That is apparent in Modul 58-12, which mixes two old compositions played in group formats, Modul 58 with Ronin on the album Awase (2018) and Modul 12 with Mobile on the album Continuum (2016). “It just developed in that direction in the studio. I didn’t plan it or expect it to open up in that way. The combination of these two pieces is maybe not a coincidence but more of an inner call”. Solo, Bärtsch doesn’t offer a classically jazz piano touch, his style rather intertwining chamber music, solo performance in the classical tradition, but also contemporary and minimalist stylings with a groove. Most interesting of all, Entendre may seem very cerebral but in fact delivers a decidedly carnal collection. It’s a long human adventure with a very narrative approach. At times lyrical, at others refined and minimalist, Entendre ultimately offers a palette as wide as life itself… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released March 19, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
Baring your soul can sometimes allow you to take stock. The pandemic also plays an obvious introspective role for artists cut off from their audience and the stage. With Entendre, recorded in Lugano in September 2020, Nik Bärtsch sets aside his various outfits (Ronin, Mobile) to find himself alone at the piano. Paradoxically, the Swiss musician finds great freedom in aesthetic restrictions, while seizing the opportunities to take his music to new horizons. That project developed in parallel with his group activities. For Bärtsch, key moments included celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the ECM label at Lincoln Center in New York in 2019, and his collaboration with artist and videographer Sophie Clements. Then there was his 2017 solo piano tour, which took him to Tehran, Alexandria, Cairo, Calcutta and Delhi, which sparked his reflection on the relationship between performance and ritual music in different cultures. Those elements and experiences fed into the preparatory work for Entendre…The numbered pieces entitled Modul, five of the six tracks on the album, seem more like models than fixed, definitive compositions. Bärtsch likens them to “a basic training in martial arts, which can be adapted to all sorts of situations. My way of working is to create new contexts. Each piece plays with the idea of composition, interpretation and improvisation, and is nourished by the same force, yet can create very surprising results”. That is apparent in Modul 58-12, which mixes two old compositions played in group formats, Modul 58 with Ronin on the album Awase (2018) and Modul 12 with Mobile on the album Continuum (2016). “It just developed in that direction in the studio. I didn’t plan it or expect it to open up in that way. The combination of these two pieces is maybe not a coincidence but more of an inner call”. Solo, Bärtsch doesn’t offer a classically jazz piano touch, his style rather intertwining chamber music, solo performance in the classical tradition, but also contemporary and minimalist stylings with a groove. Most interesting of all, Entendre may seem very cerebral but in fact delivers a decidedly carnal collection. It’s a long human adventure with a very narrative approach. At times lyrical, at others refined and minimalist, Entendre ultimately offers a palette as wide as life itself… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released February 12, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
Jakob Bro calmly continues on his way, making no waves, but still a guitarist who counts. Underestimated, little-publicised, but truly exciting. Sound, space, melody, silence: the Danish forty-something year old from the ECM crew has his own language, even though the influence of an elder musician like Bill Frisell appears here and there. It's a language that he takes on new paths, such as Uma Elmo, where he is accompanied by the Norwegian Arve Henriksen and Jorge Rossy from Spain. The originality of a guitar, trumpet, drums trio allows the melodies – all written by Bro – to develop in unexpected ways. Here, the three intelligently manipulate sound textures, keeping the serene ambience from seeming slick or even vain. Because this music, which alternates between meditative tracks and live sets, evokes strong emotions. It is as if we are caught in the ocean of sound in which Henriksen's trumpet sings a completely hypnotic siren song, Bro's guitar blows hot and cold, all punctuated by Rossy's stimulating rhythms. On Housework, the exchanges happen against the current, as in a dream, leading to a kind of unstructured jazz held together in a flow of electronic magma. Jakob Bro also salutes his forebears. To Stanko is a tribute to the Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko who died in 2018 and who had welcomed him into his Dark Eyes Quintet. And Music for Black Pigeons is dedicated to the great saxophonist Lee Konitz, who died in 2020... We leave Uma Elmo exhausted. It's a good kind of mental tiredness. Physical, too. A demanding experience and a tonic, that constantly pushes the boundaries of improvised music. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released February 12, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
Jakob Bro calmly continues on his way, making no waves, but still a guitarist who counts. Underestimated, little-publicised, but truly exciting. Sound, space, melody, silence: the Danish forty-something year old from the ECM crew has his own language, even though the influence of an elder musician like Bill Frisell appears here and there. It's a language that he takes on new paths, such as Uma Elmo, where he is accompanied by the Norwegian Arve Henriksen and Jorge Rossy from Spain. The originality of a guitar, trumpet, drums trio allows the melodies – all written by Bro – to develop in unexpected ways. Here, the three intelligently manipulate sound textures, keeping the serene ambience from seeming slick or even vain. Because this music, which alternates between meditative tracks and live sets, evokes strong emotions. It is as if we are caught in the ocean of sound in which Henriksen's trumpet sings a completely hypnotic siren song, Bro's guitar blows hot and cold, all punctuated by Rossy's stimulating rhythms. On Housework, the exchanges happen against the current, as in a dream, leading to a kind of unstructured jazz held together in a flow of electronic magma. Jakob Bro also salutes his forebears. To Stanko is a tribute to the Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko who died in 2018 and who had welcomed him into his Dark Eyes Quintet. And Music for Black Pigeons is dedicated to the great saxophonist Lee Konitz, who died in 2020... We leave Uma Elmo exhausted. It's a good kind of mental tiredness. Physical, too. A demanding experience and a tonic, that constantly pushes the boundaries of improvised music. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 29, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
What if Trio Tapestry was one of the most crucial outfits in all of Joe Lovano's long career? A year after a first album for ECM, the Cleveland saxophonist has reunited with his two accomplices, pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi, for an even more moving recording. Upon the release of the first, Lovano had described this Trio as "a melodic, harmonic, rhythmic musical tapestry throughout, sustaining moods and atmospheres.” Trio Tapestry, above all, had all the hallmarks of a spirited piece of jazz. With this Garden of Expression, spirituality and calm once again underline each improvisation. Lovano, who writes all the compositions, is never a lider maximo but one third of a tightly-welded unit. A unique voice driven by a desire for purity. In what is unspoken, in the notes that are left unplayed, Crispell displays astounding precision. The depth of the playing of this unfairly underestimated pianist has rarely reached such a level. In terms of restraint too, Lovano blows a light wind of saving serenity in these turbulent times (the album is dedicated to the victims of Covid): a breeze that does good and is felt as a welcome pause for recollection. Wonderful. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 29, 2021 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet
In 2018, Shai Maestro marked a milestone by joining the ECM team. After four albums animated by a certain grace that stamped his name on the contemporary jazz scene, the Israeli pianist, with excellent rhythmic accompaniment (the Peruvian Jorge Roeder on double bass and the Israeli Ofri Nehemya on drums) embarked once again on the path of vibrant stories-within-stories. Melodies inherited from the jazz repertoire but also from traditional oriental music or even Western classical music. Sources of inspiration like this great narrative tailwind are again summoned on Human, which was written with the same trio plus Philip Dizack, who brings a real personal touch. While taking care to digest the values of the trio, the American trumpeter brings this music closer to a certain classicism. It's a heritage that the Maestro has always kept in his sights and that he celebrates here with Duke Ellington's In a Sentimental Mood, the only cover on the album, or on Hank and Charlie, a tribute to Hank Jones and Charlie Haden. But it is the virtuosity – which is never ostentatious – of these four that impresses throughout Human. An impressive technique (GG) is put to work on the melody of the delicate (Compassion) and poetic (The Thief's Dream) themes on this record: themes all composed by the Maestro himself. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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CDkr177.59

Jazz - Released January 29, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
In 2018, Shai Maestro marked a milestone by joining the ECM team. After four albums animated by a certain grace that stamped his name on the contemporary jazz scene, the Israeli pianist, with excellent rhythmic accompaniment (the Peruvian Jorge Roeder on double bass and the Israeli Ofri Nehemya on drums) embarked once again on the path of vibrant stories-within-stories. Melodies inherited from the jazz repertoire but also from traditional oriental music or even Western classical music. Sources of inspiration like this great narrative tailwind are again summoned on Human, which was written with the same trio plus Philip Dizack, who brings a real personal touch. While taking care to digest the values of the trio, the American trumpeter brings this music closer to a certain classicism. It's a heritage that the Maestro has always kept in his sights and that he celebrates here with Duke Ellington's In a Sentimental Mood, the only cover on the album, or on Hank and Charlie, a tribute to Hank Jones and Charlie Haden. But it is the virtuosity – which is never ostentatious – of these four that impresses throughout Human. An impressive technique (GG) is put to work on the melody of the delicate (Compassion) and poetic (The Thief's Dream) themes on this record: themes all composed by the Maestro himself. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
From
CDkr141.99

Jazz - Released January 29, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
What if Trio Tapestry was one of the most crucial outfits in all of Joe Lovano's long career? A year after a first album for ECM, the Cleveland saxophonist has reunited with his two accomplices, pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi, for an even more moving recording. Upon the release of the first, Lovano had described this Trio as "a melodic, harmonic, rhythmic musical tapestry throughout, sustaining moods and atmospheres.” Trio Tapestry, above all, had all the hallmarks of a spirited piece of jazz. With this Garden of Expression, spirituality and calm once again underline each improvisation. Lovano, who writes all the compositions, is never a lider maximo but one third of a tightly-welded unit. A unique voice driven by a desire for purity. In what is unspoken, in the notes that are left unplayed, Crispell displays astounding precision. The depth of the playing of this unfairly underestimated pianist has rarely reached such a level. In terms of restraint too, Lovano blows a light wind of saving serenity in these turbulent times (the album is dedicated to the victims of Covid): a breeze that does good and is felt as a welcome pause for recollection. Wonderful. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

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ECM in the magazine
  • Impressive Technique and Melody!
    Impressive Technique and Melody! In 2018, Shai Maestro marked a milestone by joining the ECM team...
  • Avishai Cohen: This Time It's Different
    Avishai Cohen: This Time It's Different With his group Big Vicious, the Israeli trumpeter incorporates electronic and atmospheric music into his jazz, and even covers Massive Attack's "Teardrop"!
  • Yonathan Avishai | One Cover One Word
    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 ...