Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting Here From There...

Set aside the fact that Jan Garbarek has created some of the defining recordings for the ECM label over a span of almost 40 years (his first ECM album, Afric Pepperbird was recorded in September of 1970 and was a suitable companion for his 1969 Arista Freedom recording, Esoteric Circle). Set aside the fact that he has recorded with the likes of Keith Jarrett, Bill Frisell, Eberhard Weber, Terje Rypdal, Arild Andersen, George Russell, Bobo Stenson, Charlie Haden, Zakir Hussain, Miroslav Vitous, Tomasz Stanko and Trilok Gurtu.

What you’re left with is a musician who helped develop the free jazz movement in the late sixties / early seventies in Europe, an improvising musician who helped champion the folk music of his homeland and was instrumental in the innovative use of choral voices in his recordings (his work with the Hilliard Ensemble on the 1993 recording, Officium) and concerts. And this is where we join the story…

Almost a decade before Officium, Garbarek was experimenting with a choral/jazz synthesis. The concert we have here is a performance comprised of Garbarek’s quartet at the time and a choir. The material covered is a combination of Garbarek’s music for jazz quartet from his previous records at the time (Paths, Prints, Places and Wayferer), choral performances (a couple composed by Henry Purcell) and several band/choir pieces (one composed by Eberhard Weber).

I came to the music of Jan Garbarek through the record he co-led with Keith Jarrett called Belonging. It’s a fairly conventional quartet album made up of outstanding Jarrett compositions and some firey blowing by Garbarek. He really stood out for me. Then there was Garbarek’s guest appearance on Keith Jarrett’s orchestral work, Arbour Zena. Garbarek dipsy-doodled his way through some pretty orchestral wall paper like the Roadrunner used to zip across those repetitive cartoon backgrounds. He (like the Roadrunner) single-handedly made it interesting…

So, here’s what we have:

The performers are: Jan Garbarek – sax; David Torn – guitar; Eberhard Weber – bass; Michael DiPasqua – drums with the Havestehuder Kammerchor led by Claus Bantzer. It was recorded on November 25, 1984 in Hamburg, Germany. It’s not surprising that David Torn often sounds like Bill Frisell for this performance because Frisell had been Garbarek’s guitarist on his previous two or three records…

The playlist is:

01. hear my prayer, oh lord 02:31
02. the path places 16:49
03. ringing 08:17
04. last stage of a long journey 21:17
05. unknown title by Henrty Purcell 04:04
06. chorus 08:30
07. considering the snail 06:34
08. alta trinita 03:09


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