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Jan Garbarek - Jan Garbarek Quartet: Afric Pepperbird CD (album) cover


Jan Garbarek

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was Jan Garbarek's first album for ECM Records. So who better to have with him then guitarist Terje Rypdal. Great to see Jan and Terje at such a young age in the picture provided in the liner notes too. So we get that typical ECM atmosphere in this release but man these young guys hold nothing back at times. I'm so impressed with this album. It's very interesting, challenging and it holds my attention all the way through.

"Skarabee" is different with the xylophone, percussion and Thumb piano all coming and going. Drums and sax also contribute to this laid back tune. Very intricate. Flute 5 minutes in. "Mah-Jong" is a short tune that features bass and cymbals as some sparse guitar and drums join in. "Beast Of Kommodo" is a beast indeed. Bass and cymbals again to start as the sax comes in. Great sound when the drums become more prominant.The sax is killer. It settles some before 6 minutes then the guitar arrives after 7 minutes in place of the sax. Incredible sound ! Xylophone after 11 minutes then silence. Sax changes that though.

"Blow Away Zone" opens with percussion. It's experimental sounding as these strange sounds come and go. Bass 2 minutes in then some dissonant sax 2 1/2 minutes in. It's more intense 4 minutes in. Check out the sax before 6 minutes as Jan goes solo. Drums are back before 6 1/2 minutes as sax blasts away. Insane ! "MYB" opens with bass as drums shuffle. Sax before a minute. "Concentus" is a short tune that features flute and clarinet. "Afric Pepperbird" is uptempo with deliberate drumming and horns. It settles before a minute to a more laid back sound. Almost spacey guitar from Rypdal here with bass and light drums.This is so good. The sax after 2 minutes is relaxed at first then he rips it up after 4 minutes. Bass sax after 5 1/2 minutes and the guitar joins in too. Nice. My favourite track. "Blupp" has these percussion sounds that come and go and someone saying "blupp" in between. It's pretty funny.

Fantastic release and 4.5 stars is my rating. A must for Rypdal fans and really any fans of the ECM label.

Report this review (#295568)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian reeds player Jan Garbarek second solo album and his debut on ECM label.Younger generation who knows Garbarek by his world fusion explorations and (often heavily criticized) polished saccharine-like new age influenced releases will be possibly really surprised by the music of this album.

Precise,cool and robust free-jazz based, it is not easy to believe this album was recorded by the same artist.With a support of three other leading Norwegian jazz musicians, this album represents best country's musicians quartet of early 70s. Sound is clear and airy and this album is often mentioned as what later will be known as "ECM sound" standard. Andersen/Christensen rhythm section builds perfect structure of all compositions, framed but with huge space inside for Garbarek sax and Rypdal guitar's improvs. With its roots in post- bop, album's music is excellent example of progressive and innovative sound which is fresh and experimental, but not noisy or destructive at the same time.

One of the best (if not just The Best) Garbarek's solo album and excellent Nordic avant-garde jazz release, influenced European and world jazz evolution process for years ahead.

My rating is 4+!

Report this review (#413129)
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | Review Permalink

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