Category Archives: Jazz

Namesake guitar… at last

IbanezPMIbanez guitar company first released the Pat Metheny PM200 model in March 2013. At the top of the Ibanez PM line (which also includes PM120 and PM20), the PM200 is a full-hollow body electric guitar featuring a mahogany set-in neck, maple top/back/sides, ebony fretboard, and a single Silent 58 humbucker neck pickup. It has been widely acclaimed for its rich tone, fantastic playability, and exceptional build quality.  After the acoustic Martin D35 (1979) and the cut-away nylon Ovation #1863 (1991), it was time for us to do an update.

Here is a quick sample of the PM200 sound through Roland’s 80W CUBE in Tweed mode with a bit of rev and delay; a beautiful arrangement by John McLaughlin of jazz standard My Foolish Heart (by Victor Young):  Read more...

A treasure trove for jazz lovers

Musica degradata

In its first year of existence, the music blog Musica degradata has already posted over 400 entries of rare live concerts and ripped vinyls from the whole spectrum of contemporary jazz. The blog is a special treat for ECM fans, as the posts include incredible performances from many of its artists during the golden years of the label. Most of the recordings have quite decent sound quality and can be downloaded through an external site. Well worth periodic visits and a subscription to its RSS feed.

Live Jazz Lounge: unreleased recordings of live jazz from around the world

Music blog Live Jazz Lounge, launched January 2012, has posts featuring unreleased live jazz concerts anywhere from Buenos Aires to New York to  Stockholm to London, with entries from the 1970s to the present. In addition to concert info, the site provides links to purchase albums related to the featured concerts, and the site’s header features all original photographs from live jazz concerts.

Chronicle of a death foretold: Esbjörn Svensson’s premonitory reflections on death and the meaning of life

Pianist Esbjörn Svensson died suddenly, at the peak of his career, in a diving accident on June 14, 2008, 44 years of age. Here he makes a striking account of a previous close encounter with death and his personal reflections (audiofile in Swedish, Summer 2003).

It was as if I could see straight inside her. And she had made up her mind. I knew it. It was an unmistakable feeling. I then understood that I had to speak to her. If she is going to jump, I will have to stop her. And somehow, distract her attention. Slowly, I begin to move towards her. She stays very strategically placed, exactly at the exit of the tunel as the train approaches the platform. And a bit too close to the edge. I come closer to her. Very, very carefully. Slowly. I understand that it is incredibly sensitive. I do not think very much. I feel I would just like to distract her. I come closer, maybe 10 meters away from her. I hear that the train approaches. And I hear that she hears. She makes herself ready. I come even closer. Very slowly… Now I am just 3 meters from her. Then comes the train… and the woman jumps, straight in front of it. The train buzzes. People scream. Everything stops. And I stood 3 meters from her… But I turn around and run away… It’s too much. I don’t see what happens. There, in front of my eyes, a person has taken her life, straight out into something else. Something which we don’t know anything about. And I can’t just look anymore. I run. The police is coming. People all around is in desperation. But I walk away…” Read more...

Pablo Marquez: Musica del Delphin (Luys de Narvaez 1580)

Ok, this not jazz, as it was written several centuries before jazz was invented, but it is a truly amazing recording nevertheless. Masterly interpretation of Luys de Narvaez “Seis libros del Delphín” by Argentine guitarist Pablo Marquez for the ECM label. Marquez got to choose 17 of the more than 40 pieces included in the “Seys libros” compendium. Originally published in 1538, the pices were composed for the vihuela, a predecessor of the modern guitar.Here Marquez skillfully demonstrates how rewarding these pieces can be even in a modern instrument. This impecable performance preserves the intimate, introspective character of the pieces. Timeless, beautiful music of a mystical nature. Pablo Marquez was born in the northwest of Argentina in 1967. He has played with bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi, cellist Anja Lechner, the Rosamunde Quartett and the Ensemble Alma Viva. Read more...

Wonderful, unreleased recording from Jan Garbarek’s “Photo with…” Quintet live in Kiel, Germany, 1979

The web would sometimes seem to be infinite. Looking for something else, I recently stumbled upon the You Are What You Hear blog site. Dedicated to unreleased live jazz recordings, it contains thousands of mp3 files with previously unheard-of jewels from all corners of the jazz musical spectrum. Remarkably, the last entry in the site was made two years ago. But everything is still there: a time capsule carrying a treasure trove of music, floating in cyberspace.

The catalogue is endless, and one should make sure to download everything indispensable as soon as possible. To me, that includes this incredible recording from Norweigian saxophonist Jan Garbarek live in Kiel, Germany, the 10th of July, 1979, with his quintet from the iconic “Photo With…” ECM album featuring Bill Connors in guitar, John Taylor in piano, Eberhard Weber in bass and Jon Christensen in drums. The concert contains no less than 10 tracks and 2 hs 20 min of uninterrupted joy, all there at the YAWYH site. As the proof of the pudding is in the eating, here we have two tracks from this amazing concert. “Blue Sky”, the first track of the “Photo With…” album (15:32 min) followed by “Melting” (21:38 min), the first track of Bill Connors’ “Of Mist and Melting” ECM recording from 1977. (Also available from the Audio files sidebar.) Truly incredible stuff. Read more...

Tomasz Stanko Quintet

Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko visited Fasching along with his scandinavian quintet inlcuding Alexi Tuomarila on piano, Jakob Bro on guitar, Anders Christensen on bass and Olavi Louhivuori on drums. Much of the “Dark Eyes” (ECM 2115) repertoire was played with Stanko’s more introspective mood shown in his latest recordings. Soaring trumpet from Stanko solidly supported by Christensen and Louhivuori with Tuomarila and Bro adding color.

Additional photographs from the concert can be seen at the Jazzklubb Fasching photo gallery.

Dave Holland Quintet

It happens once in a while that top tier international jazz groups come to Fasching. The visit of the Dave Holland Quintet was one of those precious occassions. Veteran bassist Dave Holland, of Miles Davis fame (e.g. In A Silent Way & Bitches Brew), alongside Chris Potter on saxophone, Robin Eubanks on trombon, Steve Nelson on marimba and vibraphone, and Nate Smith on drums. This quintet, albeit with different drummers, has been playing for a very long time now and recorded over half a dozen disks as quintet and as many as the core of larger ensembles. Astonishing energy, incredible playing, telepatic communication. Clearly one of the most important musical events of this year in Stockholm. Watch the videos featured at the end of this post. Read more...

Bobo Stenson Trio

BoboStensonTrioAssiduous visitor of Stockholm’s Jazzklubb Fasching, Bobo Stenson appeared with his trio of ECM fame this past September. The all-Swedish trio includes Bobo Stenson on piano, Anders Jormin on bass and Jon Faltt on drums, now reportedly with their second ECM recording on the making (before Faltt, Jon Christiensen and Paul Motian sat at the drum kit of the trio). Along with the recently deceased Esbjorn Svensson, Bobo Stenson is perhaps the best internationally known Swedish jazz pianist. Less well known at home, his trio has been acclaimed abroad for many years for their beatuiful ECM recordings. In its ample repertoire, the jazz tradition intermingles with Swedish folk music, Cuban and Argentinian music and classical composers from Henry Purcell to Alban Berg. Read more...

Mathias Landaeus Trio

FASCH10_13531

Young Swedish pianist Mathias Landaeus got a check and flowers as recipient of one the 2010 Jazz Stipends awarded this past 21st of September at Jazzklubb Faasching, Stockholm. After a simple ceremony, the concert followed with Landaeus at the grand piano alongside veteran bass player Palle Danielsson and raising star Jon Faltt on drums. Mostly orignals from Landaeus in an intimate session which also paid tribute to several of his musical heroes, such as Thelonius Monk, and the Scandinavian folk tradition. Faltt as usual having a great time playing his percussion trickery, as can be seen in the video clip. For additional photographs of the concert, visit the the photo gallery. Read more...