Narrante is the highly attractive ECM debut album of Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi, otherwise known as the Naqsh Duo. The guitarist and clarinetist, both born in Teheran, have pursued further musical adventures outside Iran while remaining fascinated and strongly influenced by their homelands rich and diverse traditions. In the process they have arrived at a synthesis of their own, finding points of contact between aspects of Persian tradition and contemporary music. The forms, modes, drones and rhythms of Persian music as well its call for improvisation are redeployed, to new creative ends, in their fresh and vital work.
Keith Jarrett weaves a special kind of spell in his improvisations, one somehow connected to a greater humanity, for though the music and playing are ethereal, one is never mistaken that they are anything but earthly. Jarrett is not a mere vessel, but a creative force of flesh and bone whose fingers speak in ways we can only understand without words. This live recording from Tokyo’s Suntory Hall expands that flesh, and feels so intimate it might as well have grown away from others in the cave of his private studio.
György Kurtág Jr., son of the great Hungarian composer, has long been developing his own electronic music. In this unusual project, fellow composer László Hortobágyi integrates Kurtág themes into his own arrangements in a recording that celebrates a long friendship. “This is,” say the group members, “a Hortobágyi album about Kurtág,” as well as “an invitation to discover a new sphere of music”. Drifting ambient washes of synthesized sound, near-subliminal bass, collages of subtle colours and sudden eruptions are but part of the story. An intriguing addition to ECM’s growing catalogue of electronica for discerning listeners.
In March 2005 Eleni Karaindrou presented what she called “a scenic cantata” at the Megaron in Athens, a tour through her music for film and theatre, with musical themes newly combined and contrasted. A live audio recording, “Elegy of the Uprooting”, was issued in 2006: “The two-CD set interweaves excerpts of her music from 13 different scores spanning more than two decades, although the irresistible congruence of the music is such that newcomers to Karaindrou’s oeuvre would be forgiven for thinking this is newly composed. The music seduces by its profound beauty, tenderness and candour.”. – International Record Review. Here is the video and audio document of the event.
Fully 35 years after Open, to Love, Paul Bley's seminal solo piano recording for ECM (which stands as a watermark both in his own career and in the history of the label – i.e., unconsciously aiding Manfred Eicher in establishing its "sound"), the pianist returns to the label for another go at it on Solo in Mondsee. Recorded in Mondsee, Austria, in 2001, and not issued until Bley's 75th year, these numbered "Mondsee Variations" were played on a Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano, an instrument that is, like its player, in a class of its own. Bley moves through ten improvisations lasting between two and just under nine minutes each.
The music of this album is a clear example of the deep-rooted migrational nature of our local existence. It is music of a remote past, marked by radically different life conditions. It is music from distant areas connected by wandering people in search of better life conditions. It is music handed down by word of mouth for a long time and finally documented in written form during the last century. It is music to be recovered, reconstructed and re-contextualized in an ongoing process of searching, appropriating and re-inventing, of sense making at the intersection of a resonating past and today's breathing.