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

Labcoats: O Potassium! (Braille/RPR)

Labcoats: O Potassium! (Braille/RPR)

If there is an area of New Zealand music which has gone woefully overlooked -- largely because the albums were released in limited numbers at the time and are no longer readily available -- it is... > Read more

Aronas: Culture Tunnels (Southbound)

Aronas: Culture Tunnels (Southbound)

This is an interesting one: originally released under the same title but in a different cover two years ago from the band lead by gifted young New Zealand pianist Aron Ottignon, it has now... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DANIEL JOHNSTON: In a mixed up, shook up world

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DANIEL JOHNSTON: In a mixed up, shook up world

Being eccentric or even downright loopy has never disqualified anyone from a career in rock culture. Indeed, some would argue being slightly off-beam is a prerequisite. Rock is littered with... > Read more

LOCUS AND LOCATION: THE SOCIO-GEOGRAPHY AND POST-COLONIAL DISCOURSE IN DON McGLASHAN'S DOMINION ROAD

LOCUS AND LOCATION: THE SOCIO-GEOGRAPHY AND POST-COLONIAL DISCOURSE IN DON McGLASHAN'S DOMINION ROAD

Don McGlashan is one of New Zealand's most respected and successful songwriters. He been awarded the Apra Silver Scroll for songwriting 47 times and has been given honorary doctorates from many New... > Read more