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Jan Garbarek Group

Renowned for his pauses between notes and his long tones, Norwegian jazz saxophonist and composer Jan Garbarek is regarded as something of a pioneer of fusion, introducing spirituality, new age ideas and world music into his emotional interpretations.

The only child of a former Polish prisoner of war, he grew up in Oslo and, taking to the saxophone, he won a competition in 1962 for amateur jazz musicians. Alerted to his prodigious talents he was soon being offered gigs and linked up with bandleader George Russell who was living in Scandinavia at the time. By the early 1970s he was fronting his own band and was signed to the iconic jazz label ECM, finding wider acclaim in Europe through working extensively with pianist Keith Jarrett. His recordings of 'My Song' and 'Belonging' gained particular attention.

His 1976 album 'Dis' - on which he collaborated withguitarist Ralph Towner - proved to be something of a landmark as he veered away from his previous avant garde style and concentrated on compositions heavily influenced by Scandinavian folk melodies and created an ambient jazz sound full of dreamy textures. It proved controversial, but effective, and led him to spread his musical wings further, collaborating with Pakistani masters Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Trilok Gurtu and Zakir Hussain and entertaining the use of synthesizers.

In 1993 he took another leap into the unknown, venturing into early music territory with vocal performers the Hilliard Ensemble, a daring amalgamation that had spectacularly successful results on the album 'Officium' layered with Gregorian chants and ancient influences, which went on to become one of the most successful albums in the history of ECM Records. It was five years before he repeated the Hilliard Ensemble experiment with the even more ambitious 'Mnemosyne', a double album featuring music crossing three millenniums, incorporating Peruvian folk songs, Basque music and an Estonian lullaby. There was a further sequel in 2010 with 'Officium Novum'.

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