Jazz begins in Munich

Jazz begins in Munich


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2021

From a fine appraisal of Manfed Eicher and ECM by Ted Gioia:


…. Eicher did have considerable help from an impressive roster of jazz stars—from Keith Jarrett to Pat Metheny—and no one can deny the extraordinary talents of ECM artists, but these musicians weren’t well known before they collaborated with Eicher. He seemed to possess from the start an uncanny sense of which settings and projects might bring out the best in these musicians—some, such as Jarrett, famously eccentric and difficult.

Jarrett was 25, a brilliant but unfocused talent, when he connected with Eicher. A onetime child prodigy, Jarrett faced a challenge that derails many of the most gifted: he could do almost anything, adapt to any situation, but hadn’t yet found an identifiable personality as a creative artist. He had demonstrated his virtuosity in three high-profile bands—led by Miles Davis, Charles Lloyd, and Art Blakey—but sounded like a different musician in each of those ensembles. His early leader dates were wildly uneven and included an embarrassing Dylanesque album called Restoration Ruin, on which Jarrett sang and played ten different instruments. The record label even provided a chart on the back cover to demonstrate the range of this novelty act. Jarrett soon abandoned his ambitions as a folk-rock singer…

Read on here.





  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    Some forty years ago, I was recording and interviewing a Breton guitarist.
    He had been the lead guitar of Alan Stivell; he had been instrumental in nudging the Breton folk scene into rock (and soon, back again); acoustic or electric, he was a superb guitar artist. But at the time, he was in a creative pause, finding his bearings.

    I asked him where he was looking for renewed inspiration, expecting something along the lines of ‘the Goadec sisters’, Glenmor, Seán Ó Riada, maybe even Jimmy Hendrix or Ry Cooder.

    “When I need inspiration, I turn to my bible,” he said.
    I was nonplussed. His b i b l e ?
    “The ECM catalogue.”
    He had all the ECM titles, back to back.
    We spent the rest of the evening discussing ECM.