Albums

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Jazz - Released February 26, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Jazz - Released September 4, 2015 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Jazz - Released April 17, 2015 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Jazz - Released January 16, 2015 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Top du mois de Jazznews - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Though Break Stuff is Vijay Iyer's third appearance on ECM in less than year, it is the debut offering from the longstanding trio on the label. The pianist and composer has been working with bassist Stephen Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore for more than a decade. They've issued two previous recordings together. Iyer usually works conceptually, and Break Stuff is no exception. In the press release he states that "a break in music is still music: a span of time in which to act." We hear this all the time in modern music, whether it be the sounds that emerge from composer Morton Feldman's extended silences, breakbeats by funky drummers or hip-hop samples of them, or instrumental breakdowns in heavy metal and bluegrass -- they follow a moment where everything previous seems to stop. The Iyer Trio illustrate their concept in a 71-minute program that works from a suite of the same title: three works named for birds were adapted from his multi-media collaboration with author Teju Cole on Open City (illustrating in performance the novel of the same name), three standards, and works that deliver directly on the premise, including the stellar "Hood," which was inspired by Detroit techno DJ Robert Hood. The head patterns are all single-note and chord pulses, fractioned by Gilmore's precise skittering beats, breaks, and martial fills, and accented, stretched, and fragmented again by Crump. Despite its staggered parts and shifting dynamics, it is quite organic. The reading of Thelonious Monk's "Work" commences straightforwardly, following head-solo-head formula, but moves toward the margins in both the pianist's and bassists's solos. The trio's interplay offers a very pointillistic illustration of the composer's coloristic and rhythmic invention. John Coltrane's "Countdown" is taken further afield. While it retains the composer's sense of energy and flow, the pianist breaks down and reassembles its melody and sections with funky snare drops, stop-and-start legato runs, and an exceptionally syncopated bassline. The tune remains utterly recognizable despite their liberties. While opener "Starlings" is the most consciously lyric of the bird pieces, and the band begins to open up into a decidedly internal sense of swing, "Geese," with its arco basslines, intermittently placed choirs, and brushed snares is almost wholly abstract until its lyric side comes into view little more than half-way through. Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count" is performed as a piano solo and played with a lyricism, spaciousness, and taste that would make the composer smile. The title track opens briskly with fleet statements, yet gradually reveals an inherent lyricism via Crump's solo. Break Stuff is modern jazz on the bleeding edge, a music that not only asks musical questions but answers them, and it does so accessibly and immediately, no matter the form or concept it chooses to express. This trio aims at an interior center, finds it, and pushes out, projecting Iyer & Co.'s discoveries. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released November 28, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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Jazz - Released February 28, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released October 25, 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released September 6, 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio - Sélection JAZZ NEWS
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Jazz - Released June 14, 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio - Sélection JAZZ NEWS
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Jazz - Released May 10, 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released February 8, 2013 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released September 21, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released September 7, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Sélection FIP - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released July 13, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - Hi-Res Audio - Stereophile: Recording of the Month
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Jazz - Released August 12, 2011 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
"Boring" feels like such a pejorative description. It's better to call this all-star summit conference of sleepy time jazz players, led by alto saxophonist Lee Konitz and including pianist Brad Mehldau and bassist Charlie Haden, in addition to Paul Motian on drums, "stately," "refined," or "relaxed". The fact that the tunes -- all standards -- are virtually indistinguishable from each other, and go on at least five, and in one case, ten minutes too long in order to make room for just one more lugubrious bowed bass solo from Haden or one more slow-motion Mehldau keyboard interlude, should not be taken as prima facie evidence of the emptiness of this sort of pseudo-event, all too common in New York jazz clubs. After all, the live audience eats it up, as can clearly be heard. But is this album of any value to jazz as a whole? It is not. This is the sound of three men whose reputations rest on work done decades earlier, and one younger man whose reputation is difficult to explain, delicately tiptoeing through six pieces, some of which have been recorded hundreds if not thousands of times already. It is as far as possible from the sound of jazz moving forward, or preserving the creative vitality that is supposedly the heart of the genre. If all you want is to hear four accomplished musicians playing standards, this album provides an hour's worth of that. If you want more from jazz, you're out of luck. ~ Phil Freeman
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Jazz - Released June 17, 2011 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Sélectionné par Ecoutez Voir
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Jazz - Released January 21, 2011 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Découverte JAZZ NEWS
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Jazz - Released September 4, 2009 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
The delicacy of many ECM recordings can be measured via degrees, but in the case of the music conceived by pianist Stefano Bollani, those increments of hushed tones are micro dynamic, rendered as quintessentially subdued. Within a typically formatted piano-bass-drums trio, Bollani alongside bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund can be described favorably as a cut below most groups of this type in terms of a sonic footprint. While Tord Gustavsen, Esbjorn Svensson, or Bobo Stenson may approach the similarly softer side of contemporary Continental jazz, Bollani has them covered in his utterly subtle approach, while still grasping an elusive, haunting quality to melody-making. These themes are definitely based on a liquid, clear, cool quality that is founded on European chamber music. What is surprising on this disc is how Bollani has adapted the Brazilian music of Caetano Veloso, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Vinicius DeMoraes to his brand of solemn and dimmed light voicings. His version of "Dom de Iludir" parallels the classic melody of "My Romance," while "Brigas Nunca Mais" is humbled into a solemn reality, held in place by Lund's brushwork. A feeling of compact, ethereal wholeness is maintained in the oval framework of this music, whether during the playful, cascading waterfall motif of "Il Cervello del Pavone," the steady, somewhat energized "Un Sasso Nello Stagno," or the small sparks of percussive energy in "Asuda," all compositions of the pianist. The fourth piece contributed by Bollani, "Joker in the Village," has a stairstep, elfin quality that combines childlike mischief with the overall enigmatic façade listeners have come to expect from a Manfred Eicher production. Bodilsen contributes two sleek pieces, as the free-spirited and light "Orvieto" and the under-the-surface, dark, and mysterious paean to "Edith" perfectly center the group as coming out of the introspective, neo-baroque-oriented ECM stable. Surprisingly "out of the box" is an interpretation of French 20th century composer Francis Poulenc's "Improvisation 13 en la Mineur," which sounds merged with the standard "Out of Nowhere." It could be said that this effort is inspired by peaceful oceanic waves lapping up ashore at dusk or daybreak, but you'd have to assume that. Perhaps it is an aural representation of the concentric wave a stone produces as it hits the surface of said water. For sure, the music you hear Bollani and his trio creating is pure and serene, far removed from a traditional jazz trio, and approaching new era -- not new age -- craftsmanship. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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Jazz - Released January 30, 2009 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio