Jan Garbarek: Rites (ECM)

 |   |  1 min read

Jan Garbarek: Her Wild Ways
Jan Garbarek: Rites (ECM)

Norwegian saxophonist Garbarek scored a huge crossover album in 1995 with Officium which lined him up with the Hilliard Ensemble for an inspired marriage of the spiritual and the secular which ended up on many classical, jazz and even pop "best of" lists.

Garbarek's biting, sometimes clinically incisive, tone has often been described as passionless: not true. Jazz people often mistake energy and huff-puff for passion. 

Garbarek simply focuses with microscopic exactness.

This impressive, cineramic double disc could well serve as a sampler for those coming late to Garbarek's slippery, 30-year career - from Coltrane acolyte into austere atmospheric jazz with a bite, through folk jazz assimilations (Folk Songs with American bassist Charlie Haden and Brazilian guitarist Egberto Gismonti) to pan-cultural explorations (Madar with oud player Anouar Braham).

Rites includes a gently joyous, Afro-suggesting tribute to the late trumpeter and world music pioneer Don Cherry. The title track is all eerie, synth-electronic Native American ambience and there's much of his crystalline jazz alongside his regular band of pianist Rainer Bruninghaus, bassist Eberhard Weber and percussionist Marilyn Mazur, or some variant of that line-up.

The White Clown is a Bernard Herrmann-scary piece of disconcerting minimalism. He revisits a couple of earlier tunes (Gray Voice, So Mild the Wind), and doesn't even appear on The Moon Over Mtatsminda, which belongs to Georgian singer/writer Jansug Kakhidze with the Tbilisi Symphony.

And in a neat piece of Officium-like programming it follows We Are The Stars, a Jan-less setting of a Native American poem with boys from the Solvguttene choir.

Long-time followers may find too many frissons of the familiar here, but for most it will be a double disc of breadth and intellectual scope which finds Garbarek at his most approachable. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

THE COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA REVIEWED (2015): Keeping up the standards

THE COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA REVIEWED (2015): Keeping up the standards

More than just carrying the music and legacy of the great Count Basie (who died in '84), the orchestra that bears his name and played Auckland's elegant Civic defies the logistics and expense of... > Read more

MILES DAVIS AND QUINCY JONES AT MONTREUX: The circle is unbroken

MILES DAVIS AND QUINCY JONES AT MONTREUX: The circle is unbroken

It was emblematic of the soul rebel career of Miles Davis that in his final years he was painting as much as he was playing, had a cameo spot in a movie (Dingo) playing a pre-electric period... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Songhoy Blues: Music in Exile (Transgressive)

Songhoy Blues: Music in Exile (Transgressive)

With the sounds of Womad still ringing in our ears, this remarkable album might get more traction that it might otherwise have found. That said however, this one also walks towards a mainstream... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . TOMMY QUICKLY: The career that couldn't be created

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . TOMMY QUICKLY: The career that couldn't be created

At the end of '63 the fresh and freckle-faced 18-year old Tommy Quickly was standing at the door of his dreams: he'd been signed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein (who had changed his name from... > Read more