Wednesday, December 5, 2012

ECM and Me: Perfect Together

Sorting through the 2012 CDs right now, separating my favorites from my slightly less favorites, or something like that. Unfortunately my first pass has produced more favorites than not --- maybe 150 versus about 100 or so -- so I have a lot more sorting to do.

But one thing that immediately comes to the forefront is that ECM had a great year, or at least a great year according to my ears. After the sort I have 17 ECM CDs that I purchased this year, and all appeal to me in every way. Here are all 17, followed by the ones I have selected for my best of the year group. Again, all are great, but a few are outstanding and one was superior to the rest.

Here they all are:

  1. Sheppard, Benita and Rochford "Trio Libero"
  2. Nik Bartsch's Ronin  "Live"
  3. Enrico Rava "Rava on the Dance Floor" (not available yet in the U.S. This is a European version)
  4. Johnson and Elias "Swept Away" 
  5. John Abercrombie Quartet "Within a Song"
  6. Gabarek, Gismonti, Haden "Carta de Amor"
  7. Benedict Jahnel Trio "Equilibrium"
  8. Jose Luis Monton "Solo Guitarra"  (not available yet in the U.S. This is a European version)
  9. Louis Sclavis Atlas Trio "Sources"
  10. John Surman "Saltash Bells"
  11. Arild Andersen "Celebration"
  12. Bobo Stenson Trio "Indicum"
  13. Masabumi Kikuchi Trio "Sunrise"
  14. Steve Kuhn Trio "Wisteria" 
  15. Billy Hart "All Our Reasons"
  16. Keith Jarrett "Sleeper"
  17. Fly "Year of the Snake" 
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The absolute best to my ear this year, the ECM CD that was even head and shoulders over all the rest to me, was "Saltash Bells" John Surman's CD is simply magnificent in range of sounds, feelings, tempos, etc. This may be may favorite from all my collection for the year.

Second for me was "Swept Away" by Marc Johnson and Eliane Elias,  a set of beautiful melodies and lyrical playing, and a terrific guest appearance by Joe Lovano.

Product DetailsThird would be "Live" by Nik Bartsch's Ronin, completely different as only this group can be with their zen jazz in a live setting. Mystical and mysterious, vibrant and pulsing, this unusual group is at the top of their game in these live concerts.

Product DetailsFourth, fifth and sixth, in no particular order are "Indicum" by the Bobo Stenson Trio, the John Abercrombie Quartet's "Within a Song", and the Benedikt Jahnel Trio's "Equilibrium."All are intriguing, all worth having in your collection.

And to sneak in another, how about one I can list under the category of reissues and unearthed treasures: Keith Jarrett's "Sleeper", stirring, emotional, and fabulous.

And the others aren't bad either!
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