Remember Me, My Dear

ECM celebrating its fiftieth anniversary soon has often delighted in a riddle, in this case when Manfred Eicher first paired a jazz saxophonist, the greatest European jazz musician since Django Reinhardt no less, with a celebrated early music vocal group and somehow made the collision of styles match and fuse.

Officium was a big seller and beyond sales it somehow had a numinous quality that its subsequent albums possessed to a certain extent but could not dream of repeating that once in a lifetime alchemy. Hearing Garbarek in St Paul’s cathedral some years ago, indeed hearing him in any cathedral, he has played in quite a few, in this context of a Swiss church makes sense but in certain ways and this applies to his jazz output, Garbarek journeys beyond the religious and spiritual deeply into the realms of the humane. Its haunting qualities invade and that is part of the unique majesty of the sound secular or not because Garbarek as the main protagonist (the Hilliards are largely his backing singers) has a profound sound and as listeners you could say we forget that he is playing the saxophone – because essentially he is rendering his lifetime song: a factor easily discernible on his famed collaborations in the “Belonging” band with Keith Jarrett, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen.

Recorded in 2014 the album says hello goodbye to a collaboration that lasted half of the length of ECM itself and is book ended by Komitas and the title track, an anonymous 16th century Scottish song. Skip the ordering if you like and dive into the elegiac  ‘Allting finns’ followed by ‘We Are the Stars’ for the Garbarek compositions. Remember Me, My Dear also includes the beautiful ‘Most Holy Mother of God’ by the great Estonian composer Arvo Pärt among other material and where would we be without a 12th century piece by Hildegard von Bingen? Bereft possibly – incidentally a feeling thankfully entirely absent among these very uplifting sounds. SG  
• Jan Garbarek plays the Brewin Dolphin Cambridge International Jazz Festival next month. 

Start next week the right listening way looking towards release.

Bassist composer improviser Michael Formanek and his Very Practical Trio: MF alongside saxophonist Tim Berne exceptionally, bluesily, raw on the thriving-on-a-riff Even Better pre-release tracks, with the justly fêted guitarist Mary Halvorson

To be released by Swiss avant label Intakt – this inspired studio affair remarkable on glimpses so far for its concision and bite was recorded eight months ago in Mount Vernon, New York.

Ron Carter album cover

Recorded at Fasching in Stockholm 11 months ago with the same personnel as seen on YouTube in Vienna, Ron Carter, his place in jazz history secure for many reasons but especially from his tenure in the Second Great Miles Davis Quintet (1964-1968), the baton passed on to him in many ways by Ray Brown, leading his quartet that features fine pianist Renee Rosnes, the ex-Horace Silver tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene and choice drummer Payton Crossley on Foursight – Stockholm Volume 1 just released by Frank Kleinschmidt’s In + Out Records. 

Tracks are 1. Cominando (07:39) 2. Joshua (08:51) 3. Little Waltz (07:04) 4. Seguaro (10:35) 5. Cominando, Reprise (02:00) 6. Nearly (13:10) 7. You And The Night And The Music (7:57). Three years ago the Guinness World Records put out a press release entitled “Ron Carter earns world record as the most recorded jazz bassist in history” with 2,221 recordings to his name at the time of publication. Add quite a few since and as ever in addition to quantity crucially unrivalled quality – in the same breath.