Monthly Archives: November 2017

ECM Listening, Day 5- Anders Jormin, “Ad Lucem”

After listening to “From the Green Hill” by Polish trumpet player Tomasz Stanko I had to listen to more of Anders Jormin’s music.  Though I had heard him on a couple of recordings, I hadn’t gone deep enough.  My mistake! I’ll be checking him out a lot in the next few days!

ECM Listening, Day 4- Tomasz Stanko “From the Green Hill”

Bandoneon, violin, baritone saxophone, a glass of rosé, and the Steelers vs. the Packers.  The makings of a nice night’s entertainment!

This is a beautiful album!  I’m most drawn at first to Anders Jormin’s bass sound, though it’s perfectly offset by the darkness of Stanko’s trumpet, with Michelle Makarski’s violin blending the two.  It’s hard not to draw an association between tango and bandoneon, though Dino Saluzzi’s playing extends beyond this cliché.

ECM Listening Day 3- Vijay Iyer, “Break Stuff”

I really like this record, and the name makes me chuckle.

ECM Listening Day 2- Ralph Alessi, “Quiver”

I had the honor of working with Ralph Alessi as an undergraduate at Eastman in 1996.  Coming from a relatively conservative jazz background, I hadn’t been exposed to the freedom of less-structured improvisational environments, and these new experiences drastically altered my musical world-view.  Many of the concepts Ralph and Michael Cain discussed during my time in school continue to inform my opinions and approaches to music, and I’m eternally grateful for their influence.

Ralph is joined on the recording by one of my favorite pianists, Gary Versace, who now holds the jazz piano faculty position at Eastman.  Also on this record are Drew Gress, and Nasheet Waits, again, two of my favorite musicians out there.

The music on this recording blurs the line between composition and improvisation, which in my mind is the whole point of a modern improviser’s aesthetic.  I appreciate the seemingly endless stream of ideas offered by Ralph, and his unique voice in this music is unmistakable.  Gary, Drew, and Nasheet provide beautiful accompaniments, also adding their individual voices to produce a complete work.

The music here is really amazing.

ECM Listening, Day 1- Miroslav Vitous, “First Meeting”

Like many jazz musicians waking up this morning, I’m eternally grateful to ECM for opening their catalogue to Spotify.  This is a double-edged sword for me, as I recognize that individual album sales may drop for the company, but am thoroughly excited and inspired by the amazing music that has become available.  I’m also inspired to share some of the recordings I’ve encountered, and will encounter, in the hope that doing so will encourage more plays for the albums, for whatever that’s worth.

I’m starting with an album I haven’t heard until today, but which is really blowing me away.  Miroslav Vitous’ playing has always been great, and I’ve always been a fan.  This album wasn’t released in the US, or at least not until recently, and I’m just now finding it.  It’s great to hear Kenny Kirkland in this environment, and Vitous’ arco playing is sending me back to the shed.  Please take a listen!