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Garbarek, Jan, Group: Dresden

This magical live album was recorded at Dresden's Alte Schlachthof in October of 2007, and ironically just happens to be the first live album for acclaimed Norwegian sax player Jan Garbarek. Considering how long and storied his career is, it's amazing he's gone this long with issuing a live album as a band leader, but the results were worth the wait. Joining Garbarek here are keyboard player Rainer Bruninghaus, bassist Yuri Daniel, and Manu Katche on drums. Together this four-piece perform an extended set of pieces from throughout Garbarek's career, and it spreads out over 2CDs, so be prepared for quite a bit of classy, virtuoso jazz that fluctuates between slower, atmospheric numbers to pieces full of bombast and hard driving energy.

The great thing about Dresden is you feel like you are sitting right there in the front row soaking it all in. For a live album, it sounds great, as each note is crisp and clear, even the slightest bit of static coming through the speakers after a lush sax line can be heard. These are all masterful players; Garbarek has appeared as leader and sideman to plenty of other ECM artists over the years, and his ability to improvise as well as lay down gorgeous melody lines as part of an ensemble are well documented. Bruninghaus, whether on piano or a variety of electronic keyboards, is a virtuoso, slinking from traditional jazzman to hot shot fusion wiz to prog-rock pro, and the rhythm team of Katche & Daniel just never fail to impress here. As this set contains 2 full CDs, there's a lot of music to take it, but some of the highlights are the dizzying opener "Paper Nut", the sultry number "The Reluctant Saxophonist", the bouncy & complex ripper "Maracuja" (which is like a wild jam session between the prog band Gentle Giant, Weather Report, and Return to Forever), the jazz-fusion of "Nu Bein' " (complete with some amazing walking bass lines and speedy piano solos), Garbarek's searing solos on the epic "Voy Candando", and the smoky, sexy "Rondo Amoroso".

As if the alluring sounds of this live set weren't enough, ECM has put together a very attractive CD package here, complete with a booklet containing some great live shots of the band. Though for some there might be a bit too much music here, jazz and fusion lovers of all ages should seek this set out immediately. Too bad Mr. Garbarek doesn't bring this powerhouse band here to the US-now that would be something truly magical.

Track Listing

  1. Paper Nut
  2. The Tall Tear Trees
  3. Heitor
  4. Twelve Moons
  5. Rondo Amoroso
  6. Tao
  7. Milagre Dos Piexes

  1. There Were Swallows
  2. The Reluctant Saxophonist
  3. Transformations
  4. Once I Dreamt a Tree Upside Down
  5. Fugl
  6. Maracuja
  7. Grooving Out!
  8. Nu Bein'
  9. Voy Cantando

Added: October 17th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: ECM Records
Hits: 1876
Language: english

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