Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rock Lover's Guide to Jazz: The ECM Label "The Most Beautiful Sound Next To Silence"

Here's another episode in Rock Revival's Rock Lover's Guide to Jazz, this time about the ECM label

The ECM label (Edition of Contemporary Music) was founded in 1969 in Munich, Germany by Manfred Eicher. ECM's motto is "The Most Beautiful Sound Next To Silence", a phrase taken from a 1971 review of ECM releases in Coda, a Canadian music magazine.

This is an apt motto, given the label's focus on esthetics, on creating an atomosphere without the classic blues or swing elements of american jazz. If your looking for a parralel in rock, think Canterbury prog or Krautrock, genres that also abandoned the blues rots of rock, in favour of a more European focus on the avante garde

The heroes of ECM are Keith Jarrett (piano) and Jan Garbarek (sax). Other classic artists are vibraphone player Gary Burton; drummers Jon Christensen and Paul Motian; guitarists Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, Ralph Towner and Terje Rypdal; bassists Eberhard Weber, Charlie Haden and Dave Holland; and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

If ECM avoids swing it's roots lie intead in a host of alternatives; world music, classical, folk music (the ECM New Series actually is mostyl classical)

Interested ? Where should you start ?

1. Keith Jarrett The Koln Concert
2. Jan Garbarek Places
3. Oregon Winter Light
4. Ralph Towner Old Friends New Friends
5. Arvo Part Passio
6. David Darling Cycles
7. Stephen Micus Snow
8. Eberhard Weber Works
9. Anouar Brahem Thimar
10. Charles Lloyd Jumping the Creek

Here's Jan Garbarek

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