Fretshop Retrospective ECM records day 76

ECM 1500 Jan Garbarek Group “Twelve Moons” 1993.

Jan Garbarek, sax; Rainer Bruninghaus, keyboards; Eberhard Weber, bass; Manu Katche, drums; Marilyn Mazur, percussion; Mari Boine, Agnes Buen Garnas, vocals. This group’s previous record was in 1990 “I took up the runes”. At that time they were already Euro rock stars selling out huge venues. Their music started to morph into material more friendly to those patrons. It’s great stuff still, really fun to listen to, but continues to be more “safe” than other things Garbarek does outside this group, like the Atmos duo with Miroslav Vitous. Garnas’ vocal is weird and pointless here. I liked her on “Rosenfole” but here she adds an element of “what the fuck”? to an otherwise interesting set of tracks. Weber always sounds great and Katche is perfect. I preferred Garbarek’s groups with more adventurous guitarists, but I really do like this group for lots of reasons, and kinda wish I’d seen them live when they were still active. Garbarek is the poster boy for ECM and this record is an archetype of what they become as the 80’s rolled into the 90’s, a departure from the freewheeling 70’s adventure that put them on the map in the first place.

ECM 1501 Kim Kashkashian/Kieth Jarrett “3 Sonaten fur Viola Da Gamba Und Cembalo” 1993.

This record is great. Bach Compositions performed by Kashkashian on Viola and Jarrett on Cembalo (harpsichord). I actually found a classical piece Jarrett is on that I like! Kashkashian is a wunderkind. I’ve not heard anything she’s done that I didn’t think was exemplary. This duo playing Bach is lovely and hypnotic. Not entirely dramatic as one could interpret Bach but more mathematical, which is another way to view it.

ECM 1502 John Abercrombie/Marc Johnson/ Peter Erskine w/ John Surman “November” 1993.

This is a badass record. Blazing, inventive, frenetic, outside; and then lovely and lyrical. Recorded in Oslo in November 1992. Lots of Bass Clarinet that always makes me think of Bennie Maupin on Miles Davis’ gigs. Johnson’s bass is perfect. Erskine…Jesus what a monster. These fellows were all over the map on this set, interesting, beautiful, clever, but never self-serving or self-conscious. This record is so great, a must hear.

ECM 1503 Ketil Bjornstad “Water Stories” 1993.

Ketil Bjornstad, piano; Terje Rypdal, guitar; Bjorn Kjellemyr, bass; Jon Christensen, drums; Per Hillestad, drums #6-12. Drummers split the record in half. Oslo Norway studio recording from January 1993 with all Norwegian cast. These fellows are heavyweights and it shows here. Tremendous sounds. Great improvisations. Rypdal is blazing… as usual. Kjellemyr has a fantastic bass sound, his approach is subtle but perfect for the vibe of the record. Piano is the centerpiece here throughout the record. His compositions kinda paint what might sound like an ocean. The drummers play perfectly and although differently quite appropriate to the piano. Gets a little trite near the end as the composition rolls a couple cheesy turnarounds to outro sections, saved only by Rypdal’s guitar madness. Still, a cool set.