Keith Jarrett & Jan Garbarek – European Quartet (1974)

FrontCover1.jpgFor a band destined to be so influential, led by a pianist who is certainly not shy of the recording process, Keith Jarrett’s so-called European quartet was parlously under-documented.

Two studio albums, Belonging (1974) and My Song (1977) and a single live recording, Nude Ants (1979) made at New York’s Village Vanguard, were all that Jarrett and producer Manfred Eicher saw fit to release at the time. But the studio albums in particular were of such a high quality, so totally original in their conception, so utterly, heart-openingly beautiful, they were enough to establish the quartet as one of the most influential acoustic units to emerge from the otherwise fusion-soaked 1970s.

Formed around Jarrett’s bravura playing and writing, the group featured three then little-known Scandinavian musicians: saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen. The Europeans seemed to have a liberating effect on the Pennsylvania pianist.

Even now, with more than 50 other ECM recordings to his name, among them some of the most celebrated jazz albums of the post-Coltrane era, Jarrett stands out for his playing with the European quartet – joyous, exuberant flights of pure melodic invention, imbued with a bright-eyed romanticism that is rare in modern jazz.

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Also known as the Scandinavian quartet, Jarrett’s alliance with Jan Garbarek (tenor and soprano sax), Palle Danielsson (bass), and Jon Christensen (drums) stood in smooth contrast to the American quartet’s restlessness. Common to both groups was Jarrett’s brilliant writing and a few free and ethnic tangents. Their first album Belonging was recorded in the heyday of the American quartet, but they only became a working unit after the Americans had dissembled. Considering all the compositions Jarrett wrote for both groups, it cements him as one of the most creative jazz artists of the 1970s, all without playing a lick of fusion.  (by jazzshelf.org)

And here´s a brilliant live recording from this “European quartet”… a broadcast recording, live at the Funkhaus, Studios 1, Hannover … recorded by the German radio station “NDR”.

Listen and you´ll know why I think and feel, that this is timeless music !

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Personnel:
Jon Christensen (drums)
Palle Danielsson (bass)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone)
Keith Jarrett (piano)


Tracklist:
01. Introduction (in German) 0.35
02. Belonging 5.03
03. Spiral Dance 13.53
04. Blossom 15.50
05. Give Me Your Ribbons And I’ll Give You My Bows 7.53
06. The Windup 13.37
07. Long As You Know You’re Living Yours 17.13
08. Mandala 7.23
09. Solstice 14.44

Music composed by Keith Jarrett

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Jan Garbarek – Photo With Blue Sky (1978)

LPFrontCover1Photo with Blue Sky, White Cloud, Wires, Windows and a Red Roof is an album by Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, released in 1979 on the ECM label and performed by Garbarek, John Taylor, Bill Connors, Eberhard Weber and Jon Christensen.

Jan Garbarek’s icy and haunting tones on tenor and soprano are in the forefront during much of this set. He performs six originals (which have simple but picturesque titles such as “Blue Sky,” “Windows” and “The Red Roof”) with the assistance of guitarist Bill Connors, pianist John Taylor, bassist Eberhard Weber and drummer Jon Christensen. Nothing too exciting occurs, but this is high-quality background music. (by Scott Yanow)

From the flowing introductory licks to the final exhalation that snaps this sonic locket shut, one look at the track listing of this debut nominal album from the Jan Garbarek Group can’t help but remind us of William Carlos Williams. The full title—Photo With Blue Sky, White Cloud, Wires, Windows And A Red Roof—is a Williams verse in itself, each element drawn from the cover photo into a sonic description thereof. Together they form a concept album in the deepest sense, the anatomy of which is known before the music even graces our ears. Garbarek is as incisive as the words, each the tooth of a widening grin.

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Melody and circumstance cohabitate the sonorous waves that issue from every new turn that awaits us, and all in a language that is mellifluous, filled with open spaces, and drenched in Garbarek’s sunlit tone. The airy piano stylings of John Taylor and ever-moving bass of Eberhard Weber, not to mention outstanding contributions from guitarist Bill Connor and the omniscient Jon Christensen on drums, make for a most soluble palette. Even in such a pool of bases, Garbarek’s thematic bite loses none of its acidity. His is an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of worldly-wise meditations and humble commentary.

Each piece breaks a piece from the longer title and rolls it out into a photo in its own right. “White Cloud” works its way from the inside out, laying the tender kindling of a solo piano before being set aglow by Garbarek’s deep smolder. Slowly but surely, drums, bass, and electric guitar weave their way into this dreamlike fabric, cinched by soothing legato threads. We keep our eyes on the cover as its “Windows” are hung with lilting harmonies between Garbarek and Taylor. An acoustic guitar speculates through its translucent frame, enhancing Connors’s understated brilliance all the more. “Red Roof” finds Garbarek in a more pentatonic mode in his soaring reverberant passages, while “Wires” gives us a more animated, earthbound concept in which to contemplate the patterns of our psychic dentition.

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This track is composed not of melodies, but of wing beats tickling the edges of our brains with promises of light, and all the more soothing for its lack of vivid rhythmic separation. Every fragment falls into place in “The Picture,” which sprouts from the piano’s chromatic seeds into a small yet lush garden of life. Garbarek paints delicate images in the snatches of sky afforded to us while Weber’s bass navigates the soil below with the silent knowledge of an earthworm, closing in a gorgeous crepuscular fade.

Photo With… is far more than the “high-quality background music” it has been accused of being elsewhere. It was a finely polished stepping stone for the Norwegian saxophonist and composer, who with its ripples forged a distinct sonic shoreline that we continue to imprint every time we put our ears to its surface. (by Tyran Grillo)

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Personnel:
Jon Christensen (drums)
Bill Connors (guitar)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone)
John Taylor (piano)
Eberhard Weber (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Blue Sky 6.42
02. White Cloud 9.03
03. Windows 6.42
04. Red Roof 7.46
05. Wires 5.20
06. The Picture 8.01

All compositions by Jan Garbarek

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Jan Garbarek – Bobo Stenson Quartet – Witchi-Tai-To (1974)

LPFrontCover1.jpgWitchi-Tai-To is an album by the Jan Garbarek-Bobo Stenson Quartet released on the ECM label and performed by Garbarek, Stenson, Palle Danielsson, and Jon Christensen.

Witchi-Tai-To is an album by the Jan Garbarek-Bobo Stenson Quartet released on the ECM label and performed by Garbarek, Stenson, Palle Danielsson, and Jon Christensen. This selection of composers Carla Bley, Jim Pepper, Don Cherry, Palle Danielsson, Carlos Puebla keep this fast and free indeed. Jan Garbarek has stepped up to deliver and has all his taste and styles loaded. Bobo Stenson always seams to shine in all surroundings, this session he sounds more Jarrett-est with that touch of Tyner added then ever before indeed Sophisticated Post Bop and Progressive. Plenty for your ears and one to have in any collection. (by Rick Ransom)

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Long before he became the standard-bearer for the “ECM sound,” churning out discs with a mildly medieval or Scandinavian flavor spiced with enough new age fluff to guarantee sales, Jan Garbarek produced a string of superb albums, culminating in Witchi-Tai-To, his masterpiece. Intriguingly, with the exception of Palle Danielsson’s “Kukka,” all of the pieces here are cover versions, largely culled from the then burgeoning Jazz Composers Orchestra catalog or related musicians. It opens with Carla Bley’s “A.I.R.,” an incredibly infectious melody heard on her Escalator Over the Hill. Garbarek’s soprano slithers sensuously around the theme, searching for and finding all manner of variations, while Stenson, a chameleon-like pianist who shows aspects of Jarrett, Tyner, and Alice Coltrane, makes all the right choices in support. Charlie Haden used the Carlos Puebla composition “Hasta Siempre” as a cornerstone for his Liberation Music Orchestra, and Garbarek rips into it with total romantic gusto; his tenor playing has never sounded more robust, muscular, or inspired. The title track by Jim Pepper is given a short but lovely reading,

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Garbarek withholding its gorgeous theme until the end of the piece, leaving the listener dying to hear more. Which is exactly what Don Cherry did on his Relativity Suite, where his supremely beautiful song “Desireless” lasted barely a minute. Here, it’s stretched out over the 20-minute mark, Garbarek summoning the spirit of John Coltrane and offering a stunning amount of indefatigable creativity. He might never have reached similar heights since, but Witchi-Tai-To, along with Dave Holland’s Conference of the Birds, is one of the two finest jazz albums that ECM ever released, and simply one of the very top jazz albums of the ’70s. /by Brian Olewnick)

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Personnel:
Jon Christensen (drums)
Palle Danielsson (bass)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone)
Bobo Stenson (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. A.I.R. (Bley) 8.20
02. Kukka (Danielsson) 4.38
03. Hasta Siempre (Puebla) 8.15
04. Witchi-Tai-To (Pepper) 4.27
05. Desireless (Cherry) 20.25

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Jan Garbarek (feat. Kim Kashkashian & Manu Katché) – In Praise Of Dreams (2004)

FrontCover1It has been six years since saxophonist/composer Jan Garbarek issued a new recording under his own name. For In Praise of Dreams Garbarek enlisted violist Kim Kashkashian and frequent collaborator Manu Katché on drums. Garbarek, who composed the album’s 11 selections, plays saxophones as well as a host of keyboards and percussion, while Katché plays acoustic and electronic drums along with Kashkashian’s viola. In many ways this is the most radical recording that Garbarek has ever issued, but not because it’s outside — quite the opposite. This is easily the warmest, most accessible outing Garbarek has ever issued because though there are no vocals, Garbarek has clearly written “songs” on this set, with identifiable structures that are followed almost throughout. Though he is no stranger to the form, having employed it almost continually for the last 20 years, he has never engaged it so thoroughly and completely. Previously, he has engaged improvisation to get song to the breaking point and move it somewhere else. Here it is always present; surprise happens inside the formal frameworks of these compositions. Beautiful, soulful lines underscore and recontextualize the saxophonist’s trademark Nordic iciness of tone on the opener, “As Seen from Above,” with its spiraling soprano, lush keyboards, and hypnotic loops.

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In its warmth, it comes very close to a distinctly European kind of groove/soul-jazz. The interplay between Kashkashian and Garbarek on the title track offers rounded, multidimensional sonorities winding through the intro before spilling into a call-and-response melody. The repetitive keyboard line and Katché’s mantra-like drumming under the loops draw the listener inside the song’s heart and extend the edge for the front line. The restrained romanticism shown by Kashkashian on her nocturnal solo intro to “One Goes There Alone” is nearly breathtaking. As it gives way to the tune itself, it’s slow, reflective, and rooted deeply in the tension created between percussion and Garbarek’s minimal backing response lines. When he solos later in the tune, he’s clearly blowing blues into her elegiac line. The blues notion continues in his phrasing on “Knot of Place and Time,” slipping through the landscape of Kashkashian’s elegant, near heartbreakingly poetic soundscape. And so it goes. Things get more speculative on “Scene from Afar” and “Cloud of Unknowing,” but it hardly matters since these song forms are nonetheless immediately recognizable, presenting the nether side of the equation. It emerges again with “Conversation With a Stone” and whispers to a close with “A Tale Begun,” a mantra-like duet that closes this strong set that will undoubtedly, if it gets the opportunity to be heard, garner Jan Garbarek some new fans. Poetic, moving, and marvelous, In Praise of Dreams is a welcome return. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Jan Garbarek (saxophone, synthesizer, percussion)
Kim Kashkashian (viola)
Manu Katché (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. As Seen From Above 4:4
02. In Praise Of Dreams 5:21
03. One Goes There Alone 5:0
04. Knot Of Place And Time 6:22
05. If You Go Far Enough 0:39
06. Scene From Afar 5:14
07. Cloud Of Unknowing 5:22
08. Without Visible Sign 4:59
09. Iceburn 4:59
10. Conversation With A Stone 4:18
11. A Tale Begun 4:39

All compositions written by Jan Garbarek

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Jan Garbarek – Esoteric Circle (1971)

LPFrontCover1.jpgJan Garbarek had studied with the great American composer George Russell, and had previously appeared on Russell’s venture into jazz-rock, Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved By Nature. Whereas his teacher’s usage of rock rhythms in an avant jazz context often came off as rather clunky, for Garbarek and his guitarist, Terje Rypdal, formerly a member of the popular Norwegian band the Vanguards, such a melding was more second nature. The Esoteric Circle, the first album by their band of the same name (hey, this was still the ’60s after all), is a highly successful and enjoyable effort, one that can stand comfortably with work being done at that time by Tony Williams or John McLaughlin. Garbarek’s compositions range from deeply felt homages to Coltrane (“Traneflight” and “Nefertite”) to rocking jams like “Rabalder,” where Rypdal gets to showcase his considerable chops. In fact, some of these themes were used by Russell in his aforementioned work. Garbarek’s own playing, here entirely on tenor, come largely out of Albert Ayler as well as Coltrane, and his general attack is much more raw and aggressive than the style for which he would eventually become more widely known through his recordings for ECM. Listeners who enjoy his first several albums for that label (from Afric Pepperbird to Witchi-Tai-To) will find much to savor here. (by Brian Olewnick)

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Jan Garbarek’s solo debut, released on US-label Flying Dutchman under “Esoteric Circle” project’s name (and later re-released as his solo album), is really interesting release for every Garbarek fan.
First of all,music presented there is a bit raw but innovative mix of post-bop, fusion and avant- garde jazz. Musician’s line up is the same as on Garbarek second, much better known album (and his debut on ECM), but the music sounds different. Rhythm section is more conservative there and rarely leaves post-bop tradition, but Garbarek’s tenor sax and partially Rypdal’s electric guitar make some trips to fusion and avant-garde zones. As a result, album in whole sounds slightly unfocused, but raw,dirty and even explosive in moments (what is impossible for any Garbarek’s recorded on ECM music).

Some compositions have strong emotional vibes, nice tunes, and Coltrane’s influences are obvious there.At the same time, Jon Christensen and Terje Rypdal bring some heavier and rockier elements, from jazz-rock to rock jamming. Eclectic and quite unusual musical mix for Garbarek’s album, isn’t it?

Rare and interesting release illustrating Garbarek’s (and Rypdal’s) early musical influences,inspired and innovative as few first Garbarek’s ECM albums are. (by snobb)

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Personnel:
Arild Andersen (bass)
Jon Christensen (drums, percussion)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone)
Terje Rypdal (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Traneflight 2.57
02. Rabalder 8.21
03. Esoteric Circle 5.28
04. Vips 5.47
05. SAS 644 7.53
06. Nefertite 2.09
07. Gee 1.14
08. Karin’s Mode 7.36
09. Breeze Ending 3.44

Music composed by Jan Garbarek

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Jan Garbarek – Live At The Beethovenfest (2015)

FrontCover1Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek’s icy tone and liberal use of space and long tones has long been perfect for the ECM sound and, as a result, he is on many recordings for that label, both as a leader and as a sideman. He had won a competition for amateur jazz players back in 1962, leading to his first gigs. Garbarek worked steadily in Norway throughout the remainder of the ’60s, usually as a leader but also for four years with George Russell (who was in Scandinavia for a long stretch). Garbarek began recording for ECM in the early ’70s and, although he had opportunities to play with Chick Corea and Don Cherry, his association with Keith Jarrett’s European quartet in the mid-’70s made him famous, resulting in the classic recordings My Song and Belonging. In the ’80s, Garbarek’s groups included bassist Eberhard Weber and at various times, guitarists Bill Frisell and David Torn. Garbarek, whose sound has remained virtually unchanged since the ’70s, collaborated with the Hilliard Ensemble in 1993 (a vocal quartet singing Renaissance music) and the result was a surprisingly popular recording. Visible World followed in 1995, and four years later he resurfaced with Rites. In April of 1999, Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble returned with Mnemosyne. He issued In Praise of Dreams in 2004, and finally released his first live album as a leader, Dresden, in 2009. In 2012, ECM released the live archival recording Magico: Carta de Amor, by the Magico trio that also included guitarist Egberto Gismonti and bassist Charlie Haden. ( by Scott Yanow)

And this is another brilliant live concerts with Jan Garbarek and his group.

Without any doubts he´s one of the finest jazz musician our time !

Recorded live at Beethovenfest, Rhein Sieg Halle, Siegburg, Germany; October 2, 2015.
Excellent webcast.

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Personnel:
Rainer Brüninghaus (keyboards)
Yuri Daniel (bass)
Trilok Gurtu (drums, percussion)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. One Goes There Alone (Garbarek) 8.29
02. Life Without Balcony (Garbarek) 5.15
03. Red Dust (Garbarek) 8.37
04. Transformations (Brüninghaus) 6.39
05. Stolt Oli 10:46 (Garbarek) 10.46
06. Maracatu 1:42 (Daniel) 1.42
07. Vignette 5:08 (Garbarek) 5.08
08. Pendant  (Garbarek) 8.52
09. La Pasionaria (Garbarek) 9.21
10. Drum Solo 13:26 (Gurtu) 13.26
11. It’s High Time (Garbarek) 4.38
12. Paper Nut (Shankar) 4.38

 

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Keith Jarrett – Sleeper Tokyo (1999 – 2012)

FrontCover1A previously unreleased live recording from the 1970s by a short-lived outfit that nonetheless managed to be one of the lastingly influential jazz groups of the era – the “European quartet” of Keith Jarrett (above), with the young Jan Garbarek on sax. Loose, exuberant, tender and edgy, it’s timeless. (The Guardian)
The double album Sleeper contains a previously unreleased live concert by Keith Jarrett’s European quartet from the ’70s, recorded at Tokyo’s Nakano Sun Plaza on April 16, 1979. Together with saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen, Jarrett performs seven of his own compositions: “Personal Mountains,” “Innocence,” “So Tender,” “Oasis,” “Chant of the Soil,” “Prism,” and “New Dance” — the latter song being the shortest here at seven minutes, while “Oasis” clocks in at over 28 minutes! As a companion piece to the live albums Nude Ants and Personal Mountains (both recorded the same year, even though the latter album was only released in 1989), Sleeper offers another noteworthy document of the creative interplay between these four musicians. (by Christian Genzel)

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Probably the best live recording of the European Quartet. Realy powerfull, one of the best “new” releases of 2015. Sounds modern and far more in the moment, compared to loads of new popular jazz albums. This music screams for listening to it. And right it is.(Erik de Langkruis)

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Personnel:
Jon Christensen (drums, percussion)
Palle Danielsson (bass)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone, flute, percussion)
Keith Jarrett (piano, percussion)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Personal Mountains 21.12
02. Innocence 10.47
03. So Tender 13.27

CD 2:
04. Oasis 28.13
05. Chant Of The Soil 14.52
06. Prism 11.15
07. New Dance 7.07

All compositions by Keith Jarrett

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