Selected Recordings

KEITH JARRETT Selected Recordings PRODUCER: Manfred Eicher ECM 440-014-168 JAN GARBAREK Selected Recordings PRODUCER: Manfred Eicher ECM 440-014-165 TERJE RYPDAL Selected Recordings PRODUCER: Manfre

The record business is an odd business when the idea of an anthology series curated by the artists in question seems so novel. Yet ECM's Rarum series is novel—and uncommonly exciting. Via Rarum —which supersedes the label's much-maligned Works line from the late '80s—some of the innovative German indie's key jazz artists, past and present, offer a distinctive scrapbook of their work for the company. Such world-class talents as pianist Keith Jarrett, saxophonist Jan Garbarek, guitarist/ composer Terje Rypdal, vibraphonist/ bandleader Gary Burton, and guitarist Bill Frisell not only chose the tracks for their compilations but also penned their own retrospective liner notes. Add to that crystal-clear 24-bit/96kHz remastering, previously unpublished session photos, the artist's full ECM discography, and colorful, consumer-friendly packaging (not something often associated with the stark, high-art aesthetics of ECM), and you have a series that should introduce a new generation to some of the most important musicians of the past 30 years. The two-disc Jarrett anthology is perhaps the most revelatory, as the artist's conception of his set revolves around introducing material that he felt was under-recognized the first-time around; thus you get the expected highlights from Jarrett's beloved European Quartet and Standards Trio, plus rarely heard slices of solo improvisation on organ and clavichord (not to mention items from his lesser-known solo piano concerts). An artist whose decades-long ECM tenure surpasses even that of Jarrett is Garbarek, whose own two-disc collection astutely covers nearly every phase of his career, from '70s duets with Jarrett and guitarist Ralph Towner to electric '80s bands and '90s experiments like that of Officium, his hit collaboration with early-music vocal group the Hilliard Ensemble. Another Rarum disc worth singling out is that devoted to Rypdal. With a colossal, acid-rock tone allied to an uncommon sense of color and harmonic invention, the Norwegian's guitar work could be the gate through which adventurous rock'n'roll fans access the wonders of the ECM catalog. Other artists surveyed in this first wave of Rarum releases are the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Chick Corea. The fall brings 10 more anthologies.—BB


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