John Surman :: Upon Reflection (ECM)

Here’s something to get lost in, the hypnotic world of British reedman John Surman, courtesy of his 1979 ECM effort, Upon Reflection. Recorded in Oslo, with production helmed by Manfred Eicher, the recording finds Surman in widescreen form experimenting with sequencers and synthesizers in addition to his duties working bass clarinet and baritone/soprano saxophone.

Bob Downes Open Music :: Hell’s Angels

1975’s Hells Angels was the terminal statement. Where the earlier records show ample consideration to the UK’s underground rock scene – Deep Down Heavy and Electric City play like adventurous jazz prog, thrown out of Canterbury for refusing to partake in wry English-isms – Hells Angels trades familiarity for unabashed cosmic impulse.

Robin Kenyatta :: Girl From Martinique

Funky: the last descriptor one would ever reach for while describing an ECM record…but that’s exactly what this is! Released in 1970, Robin Kenyatta’s lone ECM effort finds the reedman employing the clavinet vamp of Wolfgang Dauner, swathes of reverb, electronics, and the rhythm section of bassist Arild Andersen and drummer Fred Braceful. Come for “Blues For Your Mama”, stick around for the rest.

Nikolaj Hess :: Spacelab & Strings

Danish pianist/composer Nikolaj Hess returns, melding two ensembles on Spacelab & Strings. Interweaving a classical string quartet with a piano trio, the recombinant septet finds Hess delving into new abstractions, exploring color, tonality and time.

On João Gilberto

ECM recording artist Fred Thomas stops by Aquarium Drunkard for a detailed examination of the artistry, process, and editing of Brazilian guitarist and singer João Gilberto, not a source of delightful kitsch but actually, a countercultural aesthetic monk.