Jan Garbarek (born 4 March 1947) is a Norwegian jazz saxophonist, who is also active in classical music and world music.
Garbarek was born in Mysen, Norway, the only child of a former Polish prisoner of war, Czesław Garbarek, and a Norwegian farmer’s daughter. He grew up in Oslo, stateless until the age of seven, as there was no automatic grant of citizenship in Norway at the time. When he was 21, he married the author Vigdis Garbarek. He is the father of musician and composer Anja Garbarek.
Garbarek’s sound is one of the hallmarks of the ECM Records label, which has released virtually all of his recordings. His style incorporates a sharp-edged tone, long, keening, sustained notes, and generous use of silence. He began his recording career in the late 1960s, notably featuring on recordings by the American jazz composer George Russell (such as Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature). By 1973 he had turned his back on the harsh dissonances of avant-garde jazz, retaining only his tone from his previous approach. Garbarek gained wider recognition through his work with pianist Keith Jarrett’s European Quartet which released the albums Belonging (1974), My Song (1977) and the live recordings Personal Mountains (1979), and Nude Ants (1979). He was also a featured soloist on Jarrett’s orchestral works Luminessence (1974) and Arbour Zena (1975).
As a composer, Garbarek tends to draw heavily from Scandinavian folk melodies, a legacy of his Ayler influence. He is also a pioneer of ambient jazz composition, most notably on his 1976 album Dis a collaboration with guitarist Ralph Towner, that featured the distinctive sound of a wind harp on several tracks. This textural approach, which rejects traditional notions of thematic improvisation (best exemplified by Sonny Rollins) in favour of a style described by critics Richard Cook and Brian Morton as “sculptural in its impact”, has been critically divisive. Garbarek’s more meandering recordings are often labeled as new-age music, or spiritual ancestors thereof. Other experiments have included setting a collection of poems of Olav H. Hauge to music, with a single saxophone complementing a full mixed choir; this has led to notable performances with Grex Vocalis. In the 1980s, Garbarek’s music began to incorporate synthesizers and elements of world music. He has collaborated with Indian and Pakistani musicians such as Trilok Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Bade Fateh Ali Khan. Garbarek is credited for composing original music for the 2000 film Kippur.
In 1994, during heightened popularity of Gregorian chant, his album Officium, a collaboration with early music vocal performers the Hilliard Ensemble, became one of ECM’s biggest-selling albums of all time, reaching the pop charts in several European countries and was followed by a sequel, Mnemosyne, in 1999. Officium Novum, another sequel album, was released in September 2010. In 2005, his album In Praise of Dreams was nominated for a Grammy Award. Garbarek’s first live album Dresden was released in 2009. (wikipedia)
And here´s a brilliant overview about the carreer of Jan Garbarek:
After the broad yet intimate selected recordings of Keith Jarrett, it’s only natural that the :rarum series should follow up with another two-disc album from another of its biggest talents: Jan Garbarek. The Norwegian saxophonist and composer has left his fingerprints on many an object in the ECM curio cabinet, and in so doing has gifted listeners with countless hours of creative engagement, ideas, and memories. Indeed, perhaps more than those of most artists on the label, his albums are easily connected to times, places, and experiences for nearly everyone who has followed his career.
One thing that distinguishes this compilation from those that follow it is the abundance of title tracks, as if each were sigil of the past. From the anthemic enmeshments with Keith Jarrett on 1974’s Belonging and 1978’s My Song to his interdisciplinary collaborations with Shankar (Song For Everyone, 1985), Ustad Fateh Ali Khan (Ragas and Sagas, 1992), and Anouar Brahem (Madar, 1994), his saxophone is a cleansing harmonizer. Dominant but never dominating, its echoes carry every message as if it were the last. Like a strip of cloth washed in a river and wrung out to dry in the sun, it changes color in the evaporation process. Other noteworthy titles abound. Personal favorites include 1985’s It’s OK to listen to the gray voice, a timeless theme rendered by David Torn on guitar synthesizer, Eberhard Weber on bass, and Michael DiPasqua on drums that keeps us earthbound by the gentlest of gravities; 1992’s Twelve Moons, in which drummer Manu Katché and percussionist Marilyn Mazur add fire and attunement to one of his most mature melodies; and 1989’s Rosensfole, which elevates his arrangements of folk songs sung by Agnes Buen Garnås. It’s an album so brilliant and relatively neglected in the Garbarek catalog that I almost wish there was more of it here to entice newcomers to its wonders. Seek it out if you haven’t already.
Then again, any Garbarek admirer will know he has always been adept at creating traditions from scratch. Whether weaving himself into the rainforest with guitarist Egberto Gismonti and bassist Charlie Haden in “Cego Aderaldo” (Folk Songs, 1981) or rendering aching parabolas of honest reflection with organist Kjell Johnsen in “Iskirken” (Aftenland, 1980), or even riding the wave of windharp with Ralph Towner on 12-string guitar in “Viddene” (Dis, 1977), his music comes to us fully formed and preloaded with histories of their own. That thread of ancient purpose is woven through “Lillekort” (Eventyr, 1981), a track combining the signatures of percussionist Nana Vaconcelos and guitarist John Abercrombie on mandoguitar, and a turning point in the engineering of Garbarek’s sound. It continues on in “The Path” (Paths, Prints, 1982), a balancing act of sun and shade shared with guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Eberhard Weber, and drummer Jon Christensen, as well as “Its Name Is Secret Road” and “Aichuri, The Song Man,” both solo excursions documented on 1988’s Legend Of The Seven Dreams. Said thread reaches something of a terminus in Part 1 of the floating “Molde Canticle,” from 1990’s I Took Up The Runes.
This collection offers even more joys for veterans and newcomers alike, such the classical piece “Windsong” (Luminessence, 1975), written by Keith Jarrett and performed with the Stuttgart Südfunk Symphony Orchestra, and the iconic cries of “Skrik & Hyl” (Dansere, 1976), with pianist Bobo Stenson, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen. There’s even a haunting nod to 1991’s StAR with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Peter Erskine.
But the two most important touchstones of my own Garbarek discovery are also to be found in these borders. First is “Parce Mihi Domine” (Officium, 1994). This profound collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble was my introduction to Garbarek at a time when I was only immersed in ECM’s New Series classical releases, and which compelled me to purchase one of Garbarek’s own albums, Visible World, thus opening the doors to ECM proper. The beginning of that 1996 masterpiece, “Red Wind,” has always been a special one for that reason alone. With barest means—Garbarek on synths and soprano and Mazur on percussion—it meshes beautiful details and unfettered expression and stands as a testament to a relationship between musician and producer that will never be equaled in the hall of mirrors that is our audible universe. (Tyran Grillo)
John Abercrombie (guitar, mandolin)
Anouar Brahem (oud)
Rainer Brüninghaus (piano)
Jon Christensen (drums)
Rogers Covey-Crump (vocals)
Palle Danielsson (bass)
Peter Erskine (drums)
Bill Frisell (guitar)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone, flute, keyboards, percussion)
Agnes Buen Garnås (vocals)
Egberto Gismonti (guitar)
Trilok Gurtu (percussion)
Charlie Haden (bass)
Ustad Shaukat Hussain (tabla)
Zakir Hussain (tabla)
David James (vocals)
Keith Jarrett (piano)
Kjell Johnsen (pipe organ)
Gordon Jones (vocals)
Manu Katché (drums)
Ustad Nazim Ali Khan (sarangi, vocals)
Marilyn Mazur (percussion)
Michael DiPasqua (drums)
John Potter (vocals)
String Section of the Suedfunk Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mladen Gutesha
David Torn (guitar)
Ralph Towner (guitar)
Nana Vasconcelos (percussion)
Miroslav Vitous (bass)
Eberhard Weber (bass)
Bugge Wesseltoft (synthesizer)
01. Jan Garbarek / Bobo Stenson Quartet: Skrik & Hyl (Garbarek) (1975) 1.39
02. Jan Garbarek: Viddene (Garbarek) (1976) 5.41
03. Jan Garbarek / Kjell Johnsen: Iskirken (Garbarek/Johnsen) (1979)
04. Jan Garbarek: Lillekort (Garbarek/Abercrombie/Vasconcelos) 5.00
05. Jan Garbarek: The Path (Garbarek) (1981) 7.13
06. Jan Garbarek Group: It’s Ok To Listen To The Gray Voice (Garbarek) (1984)
07. Jan Garbarek: All Those Born With Wings, 3rd Piece (Garbarek) (1986) 7.41
08. Jan Garbarek: Its Name Is Secret Road (Garbarek) (1988) 1.48
09. Jan Garbarek: Aichuri, The Song Man (Garbarek) (1988) 5.06
10. Jan Garbarek: Molde Canticle, Part 1 (Garbarek) (1990) 5.18
11. Jan Garbarek / Ustad Fateh Ali Khan & Musicians From Pakistan: Raga I (Khan) (1990) 8.43
12. Jan Garbarek: Twelve Moons (Part one- Winter-Summer, Part two- Summer-Winter) (Garbarek) (1992) 7.33
13. Jan Garbarek: Red Wind (Garbarek) (1995) 3.46
01. Keith Jarrett / Jan Garbarek: Windsong (Jarrett) (1974) 6.37
02. Keith Jarrett / Jan Garbarek: Belonging (Jarrett) (1974) 2.18
03. Ralph Towner: Oceanus (Towner) (1974) 11.03
04. Keith Jarrett: My Song (Jarrett) (1977) 6.15
05. Keith Jarrett: Sunshine Song (Jarrett) (1979) 12.02
06. Haden / Garbarek / Gismonti: Cego Aderaldo (Gismonti) (1979) 7.57
07. Shankar: Song For Everyone (Shankar) (1984) 6.22
08. Agnes Buen Garnås / Jan Garbarek: Rosensfole (Traditional) (1988) 2.49
09. Miroslav Vitous / Jan Garbarek / Peter Erskine: Star (Garbarek) (1991) 6.15
10. Jan Garbarek / Anouar Brahem / Shaukat Hussain: Joron (Traditional) (1992) 6.28
11. Jan Garbarek / The Hilliard Ensemble: Parce Mihi Domine (de Morales) (1993) 6.34