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Jan Garbarek

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Jan Garbarek Jan Garbarek - Bobo Stenson Quartet: Witchi-Tai-To album cover
3.75 | 27 ratings | 2 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A.I.R. (8:18)
2. Kukka (4:37)
3. Hasta Siempre (8:15)
4. Witchi-Tai-To (4:27)
5. Desireless (20:28)

Total Time 45:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Jan Garbarek / soprano & tenor saxes  
- Bobo Stenson / piano
- Palle Danielsson/ double bass
- Jon Christensen / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Maar (photo)

LP ECM Records - ECM 1041 ST (1974, Germany)

CD ECM - ECM 1041 (1988, Germany)

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy JAN GARBAREK Jan Garbarek - Bobo Stenson Quartet: Witchi-Tai-To Music

JAN GARBAREK Jan Garbarek - Bobo Stenson Quartet: Witchi-Tai-To ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(59%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JAN GARBAREK Jan Garbarek - Bobo Stenson Quartet: Witchi-Tai-To reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I believe you was told more than twice Witchi-Tai-To is Garbarek's best album. And it could be the truth if you like cool polished comfortable sound of ECM recordings of mid 70s. Otherwise you find here good musicians' competent playing and well organized post-bop jazz with lot of melodic elements to make it more comfortable and few free-jazz spices to avoid it of being boring.

Released as Jan Garbarek-Bobo Stenson quartet album, this release contains music seriously different from Garbarek's early quartet's releases. If first three Garbarek's solo albums were all great to excellent collections of hungry and sharp innovative avant-jazz, later Garbarek turned to more accessible music, mixing his early avant-garde sound with post-bop and Nordic folklore.

Here on Witchi-Tai-To (which is real Garbarek - Stenson duo work with competent rhythm section on support) he reaches the peak of still innovative and accessible symbiosis.All songs but one are mostly known American jazz composers's compositions, from Carla Bley to Don Cherry. Garbarek-Stenson duo demonstrates wide possibilities playing melodic post-bop on the edge between still experimental (but never risky) and comfortable. Music sounds really nice, but are from one hand too polished, and from other - too much secondary. Garbarek's tenor sax sounds extremely clear and quite pleasant (and Coltrane-like), Stenson demonstrates all his influences (Jarrett,etc). Carlos Puebla composition "Hasta Siempre" reminds Charlie Haden/Carla Bley's Liberation Music Orchestra...

Luckily, this album (the last Garbarek's one for years)is still the one with positive balance of inspiration and conformity. Don't expect explosion of Garbarek's earlier works, but just very professional pleasant and not boring release.

My rating is 3,5 .

Review by Matti
4 stars Norwegian saxophonist and composer Jan Garbarek started his recording career in the late 60's. During the 70's he made albums in a breathtaking pace, often in a more or less equal collaboration with other musicians such as Terje Rypdal or Keith Jarrett. The jazz world seems to consider Witchi-Tai-To as one of his biggest classics. Well... I'm not saying this wouldn't be very good jazz album, but it's surely not the most representative of Garbarek's "icy" Scandinavian trademark sound, and to start with, none of the compositions are by himself. Actually I'm better familiar with his more recent (from the mid-80's onwards) output which I like a lot. According to the sole previous reviewer Snobb, this one was different from Garbarek's earlier, more avant- oriented releases, reaching "the peak of still innovative and accessible symbiosis". Maybe that explains its high status.

It's a quartet effort, pianist Bobo Stenson marked as equal to Garbarek. Stenson is a fantastic artist in his own rights, and if you generally enjoy piano as the lead instrument in jazz, you'll find it easy to enjoy this album. The opening piece 'A. I. R.' is written by Carla Bley who also had recorded it. Garbarek's soprano sax is wailing around the restricted basic pattern. Thanks to the 8-minute length, it feels both meditative and epic. 'Kukka' (the word means flower in Finnish, but it may be just a coincidence) is composed by the quartet's bassist Palle Danielsson. This is rather mellow jazz piece, highlighting the bright and decorative piano playing.

'Hasta Siempre', originally a Che Guevara -themed protest song by Cuban musician Carlos Puebla, sees Garbarek giving his all on tenor sax. Despite the passion, eight minutes is perhaps a bit too much for this piece. Like 'Kukka', the title track written by Jim Pepper is another shortish, safe and melodic jazz tune, with solistic spots for both tenor sax and piano. Very enjoyable. And finally there's a 20-minute version of Don Cherry's 'Desireless' which originally lasted only a minute on Cherry's Relativity Suite (1973). This is really great stuff, the piece proceeds with full inspiration from the quartet. In the middle I find myself being spellbound by the bass line. The lengthy bass solo that follows the passionate, sax-dominated section is for me a slight moment of boredom, as bass solos in jazz have never really impressed me. The epic closes beautifully in a slow and thoughtful manner.

My expectations on this album were not very high (namely as a Jan Garbarek work), but I found a lot to enjoy in it, and if it's seen as one of the jazz classics of the 70's, I have no strong reason to disagree.

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