The Munich-based record label ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music) celebrated its 40 years of existence with a star-loaded festival in Mannheim, Germany, on October 22-25, 2009. I arrived a day later, and so missed John Abercrombie’s Quartet. Nevertheless, what followed was a series of truly outstanding concerts with many of the label icons that I have worshiped for many years. Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti appeared in 14-string guitar and piano in duo with his son, Alexandre, in classical guitar. A loaded evening in which the Gismonti’s touched upon most of the standards from several decades of Egeberto’s repertoire, from “Dansa das Cabecas” (1977) to “Saudacoes” (2008).
Here are two unreleased live recordings from trumpet player Paolo Fresu. D’Estate was recorded on July 1, 2007 during the Jazz Baltica Festival at Salzau, Germany, with Fresu in trumpet and Don Friedman in piano.
La Sicilia is a composition by pianist Steffano Bollani who appeared along with Fresu and Paolo Russo in bandoneon at Club Nefertiti, Gothenburg, Sweden, on December 12, 2007.
I was blown away by this trio when I saw them on the previous day at Jazzklubb Fasching in Stockholm. Both recordings come from the Swedish radio. The image (taken with the EF 70-200 L II lens on the EOS 7D) comes from Fresu’s concert along Ralp Towner at the ECM 40 Years Festival anniversary in Mannheim 2010.
Jurong Bird Park, on the west side of Singapore, harbors a huge variety of birds in a lush tropical backdrop. It is an ideal site for trying out telephoto lenses. It is possible to get really close to the birds and obtain nice portraits.
Here testing the 70-200 2.8 L IS from Canon on the EOS 40D. It was an overcast day, a perfect lighting condition to mitigate the tough midday sun of the equator. The light rain was not a problem.
A good close-up on an intriguing variety of peacock is shown here with its characteristic phlegmatic look.
A selection of images from that afternoon showing flamingos, pelicans, parrots, ostriches, birds of prey, ibises, crowned pigeons and more can be seen in the photo gallery HERE.
Geri Allen played with her quartet at the Iridium club on Time Square, New York City on the 20th of June 2009. In addition to Geri Allen on piano, her band included Ravi Coltrane on saxophone, Joe Sanders on bass and the amazing Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums.
Majestic playing from Allen, who once again demonstrated her command over harmony, melody and rhythm. Incredible energy form Watts, a veteran drummer that keeps going unabated with top players all around. Introspective playing from Sanders, not one note in excess. Ravi Coltrane raved on the sax, swinging as needed and with soaring solos that filled the club from the first note.
In December 2008, the Swedish Radio showed up at the home of Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson to record an interview and a series of solo piano improvisations at Stenson’s private studio. In the absence of available solo recordings of the acclaimed pianist, this was a very special event. The interview covered several aspects of Stenson’s musical life. Inevitably, he was asked about Keith Jarrett, and the Swedish pianist took distance -without being overt critical- from his colleague’s use (or abuse?) of ostinato techniques. Featured here, from the over 70 minutes piano recording, is the beautiful “Alfonsina y El Mar” from Argentinian composer Ariel Ramirez -now a standard piece of the Stensonian repertoire.
Adam Nussbaum & Bann performed at Jazzklubb Fasching in Stockholm on March 5, 2009, with Seamus Blake on saxophone, Oz Noy on guitar, Jay Anderson on bass and Nussbaum at the drum kit. Amazing concert, specially Seamus. He is a formidable player. With Noy imparting some rock-inspired guitar influences. Picture was taken with the Canon EOS 40D and the 24-105L zoom lens wide open at 24mm. More photographs from this concert can be seen at the Photo Gallery on the left side bar or else HERE.
Costa Rica contains some of the greatest biodiversity on Earth. Over 890 bird species have been recorded in Costa Rica as of January 2011.
Pictured here is the Blue-crowned Motmomt with its gorgeous tail, spotted in the area of Monteverde in the early hours of November 29th, 2008. Thanks to my skillfull guide, we saw plenty of birds on that great morning, including the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal. It was hard to find, but some knowledge about the locatoin of its favorite fruit, and a big dose of patience, helped us to spot several exemplars in the Monteverde reserve.
In addition to Monteverde, our trip during November-December, 2008, took us to Arenal and Baiha Drake, where we could see many other magnificent birds. All in all, over 30 different bird species could be photographed on that trip. These can be viewed in the Photo Gallery or from the link HERE. A very good website ”Tropical Feathers” helped naming many (but not all!) of the birds we saw.
The Hula Valley in Galilee, Israel, is a natural reserve with swamps an low vegetation that is visited by vast numbers of migratory birds. On this occassion, a hazy and wet morning in early September, pelicans were in great abundance. Colorful herons, white cranes and some cormorants could also be seen. More pictures can be seen HERE.