listening to July 3-8, 2012

Jan Garbarek with Terje Rypdal – SART (ECM)

Jan Garbarek had a lot of interesting guitarists in his band, but I also like his early saxophone playing, quite a raw, distinctive beast. I think his sound got more polished and slicker as time wore on, not what it used to be, but more accessible to folks over the years.

On this album:  Terje Rypdal, Bobo Stenson, Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen, musicans who would go on to make many albums for ECM as leaders and sideman. A box with a few albums from this era is coming out on ECM any day now and the big news is the live recording with Keith Jarrett’s European group  from the vaults.

Terje Rypdal was special, a perfect match for Garbarek’s edgy intonation. Distinctive rock guitar that’s a combination of non-tempered whammy bar vibrato and volume swell atmospherics drenched in reverb, he’s been cited as an influence by many such as David Torn, Bill Frisell and others. He recently played a rare show in NYC.

Jan Garbarek and Ralph Towner – Dis (ECM)

Duets from 1977 + wind harp(!). I used to hear this on WNYC’s New Sounds all the time in the 1980. There’s some really beautiful textures here, Jan even plays some wooden flute, the wind harp adds some mysterious drones.

Solstice with Jan, Ralph and band was one of my first ECM albums, probably because of an article in Guitar Player. Guitarist Towner wasn’t just playing jazz on a classical guitar, but doubling on 12 string and playing with his fingernails and classical technique. More on the amazing Ralph later.

Jan Garbarek with John Abercrombie and Nana Vasconcelos – Eventyr (ECM)

There’s some stunning textures on this album. I hear birds, bells…

Jan Garbarek with Bill Frisell – Wayfarer (ECM)

An early 1983 listen to jazz legend, guitarist Bill Frisell. Very listenable.

Jan Garbarek with David Torn – It’s OK to Listen to the Gray Voice (ECM)

An early high profile gig for Torn, although he’d already made a few appearances on the label by 1985. His electronic simulation of tape loops still sound a lot like this today. More on Torn later.

Jan Garbarek and Miroslav Vitous – Atmos (ECM)

A particularly beautiful duet album with Weather Report founding member Vitous on bass.

Al DiMeola – Elegant Gypsy
Al DiMeola – Casino
Al DiMeola – Scenario (Columbia)

Yikes! I do like Scenario, always have…it’s really a Jan Hammer album masquerading as a DiMeola platter. Extensive Fairlight CMI (early sampling workstation) programming by Jan gives the album a particular dreamy sound. I remember buying it because off duty King Crimson members Tony Levin and Bill Bruford were on one cut. Al always seemed to be such a tool of the industry and didn’t quite live up to the hype for a lot of us. His playing in Return to Forever was a bit of a disappointment after he replaced the great Bill Connors. I’m not familiar with his work after this album.

Tangerine Dream – Phaedra (Virgin)
Tangerine Dream – Rubycon (Virgin)
Brian Eno – Discreet Music (Editons EG)

Three electronic music classics from my teenage years. Murky and dreamy Sunday morning music, perfect for resting between trips on a busy weekend.

Joe Zawinul – Zawinul (Columbia)

Recently found, it’s been lost in the collection for months. I love this album…the solo album between Miles Davis and Weather Report.

1 comment
  1. Joe B. from FB writes: “Zawinul- With Mr. Herbie Hancock on 2nd EP. I listen to this weekly. Wonder if Eno listened too as there are a few very ambient pieces on this- “His Last Journey” & “Arrival in New York”. Love your Garbarek picks and I feel the same way about Big Al. And you know how I feel about Z…”

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