A welcome return to the ECM catalogue – in a specially priced 3-CD box set in the label’s Old & New Masters Edition series – for three of the most striking of the early recordings which Jan Garbarek made for the label in the 1970s. In different but related ways Sart (1971), Witchi-Tai-To (1973) and Dansere (1975) brought freshly intelligent and invigorating perspective to bear on questions of dynamics, group sound, interaction and swing, the relation of improvisation and abstraction to the roots of jazz, and the relevance of archetypal yet freshly inflected folk forms to contemporary music.
Two ensembles are heard here – Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen (the “Big Four” of Norwegian jazz), together with Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson – on the exploratory Sart, and the spirited Jan Garbarek-Bobo Stenson Quartet, completed by Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen – one of the most exciting groups of the era – on the two later albums.
“Witchi-Tai-To was probably the first of his records about which it is possible to say that it was both characteristic and surprising, both impressionistic and funky, European and jazzbased. The saxophone tone is more relaxed… The title-piece is a version of Jim Pepper’ssurprise hit, a delightful performance that is as fresh now as ever.” – The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD.
2. Fountain Of Tears – Part I and II
3. Song Of Space
4. Close Enough For Jazz
1. A. I. R.
3. Hasta Siempre
4. Skrik & Hyl
6. Til Vennene