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

Underworld Vs the Misterons: Athens (K7/Border)

Underworld Vs the Misterons: Athens (K7/Border)

This might not be what some would expect from the techno stars Underworld, but this excellent compilation serves a number of purposes outside of being fascinating in its own right. It is a... > Read more

THE YOUNG LIONS OF JAZZ (1994): Tomorrow is the question

THE YOUNG LIONS OF JAZZ (1994): Tomorrow is the question

If rock is the culture which eats its young -- or at least allows Kurt Cobain to leave a suicide note which says “I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasm I once had as... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Tamikrest: Adagh (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Tamikrest: Adagh (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

As we know, for every breakthrough band there are a dozen or more who can successfully coattail. Tamikrest come from the same area -- geographical and musical -- as the great Tinariwan and Etra... > Read more

? and the Mysterians: Can't Get Enough of You Baby (1967)

? and the Mysterians: Can't Get Enough of You Baby (1967)

It's a common enough sentiment, but in the fast-changing world of pop "If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?" just doesn't work. That idea would have kept the Beatles singing... > Read more