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JAN GARBAREK

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Norway


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Jan Garbarek biography
Jan Garbarek (born 4 March 1947 in Mysen, Norway) is a Norwegian tenor and soprano saxophonist, active in the jazz, classical, and world music genres. Garbarek was the only child of a former Polish prisoner of WWII Czeslaw Garbarek and a Norwegian farmer's daughter. Effectively stateless until the age of seven (there is no automatic grant of citizenship in Norway) Garbarek grew up in Oslo. At 21, he married Vigdis. His daughter Anja Garbarek is also a musician.
Garbarek taught himself to play saxophone at age 14, inspired by hearing John Coltrane's Countdown on the radio. A year later, he was fronting the leading quartet in the non - traditional section of the '62 Norwegian Amateur Jazz Championship. He won the competition, which resulted in his first professional work, and he was soon leading a group with Jon Christensen, Terje Rypdal and Arild AndersenIn. 1965 a significant encounter with George Russell at the Molde Jazz Festival resulted in Garbarek's fascination with Russell's 'Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization', with Garbarek becoming an important soloist in the composer's works. In 1968 he was the Norwegian representative at the European Broadcasting Union festival, and the recordings of this (notably an impressive version of Coltrane's 'Naima') brought him to wider notice when they were transmitted throughout Europe.
He had an early breakthrough into the elite of modern jazz in the 60's, due to his extensive cooperation with Keith Jarrett. Subsequently his style has become more severe, sometimes almost bleak, although there is a restrained warmth to his sound. Garbarek's playing is representative of the kind of music associated with Manfred Eicher's ECM Records and of a characteristically Scandinavian strand of jazz, melodic and atmospheric, which has little overt emotionalism but does not lack intensity ."The north and nature, song and mystery" are what Garbarek calls his origins . In the 1980s, Garbarek's groups included bassist Eberhard Weber and at various times guitarists Bill Frisell and David Torn. At the same time he start adding more world music components to his sound, playing with renowned world music artists, as Trilok Gurtu, and many his works were classified as "new age music".
Garbarek's most progressive jazz fusion period is 70-s. When a member of Esoteric Circle, a quartet with guitarist Terje Rypdal, bassist Arild Anderson and drummer Jon Christensen he played a unique hybrid of jazz-rock, free jazz and pro...
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OfficiumOfficium
ECM 1999
Audio CD$9.42
$1.33 (used)
Officium NovumOfficium Novum
ECM Records / GmbH 2010
Audio CD$6.02
$9.99 (used)
DansereDansere
Ecm Records 1994
Audio CD$57.99
$19.94 (used)
SartSart
Import
Ecm Import 2001
Audio CD$17.13
$17.47 (used)
Magico - Carta De Amor [2 CD]Magico - Carta De Amor [2 CD]
ECM 2012
Audio CD$19.62
$19.61 (used)
DisDis
Import
Imports 2000
Audio CD$7.30
$7.31 (used)
Visible WorldVisible World
Bmg/Ecm 1996
Audio CD$7.95
$2.00 (used)
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JAN GARBAREK discography


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JAN GARBAREK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
The Esoteric Circle ( with Terje Rypdal,Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen - as The Esoteric Circle)
1969
4.02 | 10 ratings
Afric Pepperbird
1970
4.00 | 6 ratings
Sart (with Bobo Stenson / Terje Rypdal / Arild Andersen / Jon Christensen )
1971
3.92 | 7 ratings
Triptykon (with Arild Andersen and Edward Vesala)
1973
3.18 | 11 ratings
Belonging (with Keith Jarrett, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen)
1974
3.67 | 6 ratings
Red Lanta (with Art Lande)
1974
3.19 | 8 ratings
Witchi-Tai-To
1974
4.30 | 10 ratings
Dis
1977
3.50 | 8 ratings
Places
1978
3.33 | 3 ratings
Aftenland
1980
3.88 | 8 ratings
Eventyr
1981
3.15 | 7 ratings
Paths, Prints
1982
4.25 | 4 ratings
It's OK to Listen to the Gray Voice
1985
3.75 | 8 ratings
All Those Born With Wings
1987
4.43 | 7 ratings
Legend Of The Seven Dreams
1988
3.85 | 13 ratings
I Took Up The Runes
1990
3.88 | 8 ratings
Star (with Miroslav Vitous, Peter Erskine)
1991
3.73 | 11 ratings
Ragas And Sagas(with Ustad Fateh Ali Khan & Musicians From Pakistan )
1992
4.00 | 10 ratings
Madar (with Anouar Brahem - Ustad Shaukat Hussain )
1994
3.44 | 13 ratings
Officium (with The Hilliard Ensemble)
1994
4.25 | 13 ratings
Visible World
1996
4.59 | 17 ratings
Rites
1998
3.89 | 9 ratings
Mnemosyne (with The Hilliard Ensemble)
1999
4.15 | 14 ratings
In Praise Of Dreams
2004
4.62 | 12 ratings
Officium Novum
2010

JAN GARBAREK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 11 ratings
Dresden: In Concert
2009

JAN GARBAREK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

JAN GARBAREK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Works
1984
3.10 | 2 ratings
Selected Recordings
2002

JAN GARBAREK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Officium (The Hilliard Ensemble)
1994

JAN GARBAREK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dresden: In Concert by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Live, 2009
4.00 | 11 ratings

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Dresden: In Concert
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars - The First Review Of This Album -

All fans of this Norwegian saxophonist/composer and the standout artist in the fantastic ECM label, take notice. This 2-disc set is his only live release, and it's a very good one. Well, I can imagine it being even better if there had been some more musicians from the Garbarek catalogue involved (such as percussionist Marilyn Mazur or violinist Kim Kashkasian), but one really can't complain about this line-up featuring pianist Riner Brüninghaus, drummer Manu Katché and bassist Yuri Daniel.

As it apparently is more typical in jazz than in rock, there are many tracks new to a listener familiar with Garbarek's studio albums. Some compositions are credited to his fellow musicians, one each, and there are tracks originally written by L. Shankar and Milton Nascimento, one each. But surprisingly many Garbarek compositions too were new to me, who have listened to quite a many of his studio albums.

As I'm usually not that keen to have multiple versions of the same music, that's pretty suitable, but on the other hand, a little more familiarity with the compositions would probably have made the impression greater. Besides the differences between studio and live tracks are surely bigger than in rock music. To me the most familiar track here was 'Twelve Moons' - and it's not a carbon copy of the studio version. I also had heard at least 'Voy Cantando' from 1988's Legend of the Seven Dreams before, but without really memorizing it. Anyway, what counts is that the playing here is excellent, and the concert in its entirety is well balanced and enjoyable.

Manu Katché's drum solo 'Grooving Out!' is nice but I bet he could have done something more adventurous too (or maybe Neil Peart's breath-taking solo numbers on RUSH concerts make everything else seem tame in comparison).

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 Belonging (with  Keith Jarrett, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen) by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.18 | 11 ratings

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Belonging (with Keith Jarrett, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen)
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars First Keith Jarrett recordings on ECM with Jan Garbarek and his rhythm section (often known as Jarrett's European quartet).Comparing with Garrett American quartet, music there is less experimental and adventurous, and whole sound is influenced by Garbarek's Nordic folk.

Obvious project's leader is Jarrtett for sure. His playful piano improvs are central sound of album's music and most attractive its element. Garbarek's sax sounds far from his experimental works of early 70s and shows his growing trend to melodic simplified tunes, influenced by folklore, and with only occasional interesting improvs.He has enough space on this album, but comparing with Jarrett piano, sounding if not risky,but very jazzy on American manner, Garbarek's musicianship adds more simplified feeling to all sound.

Rhythm section is competent, but as in cases with previous Garbarek's releases with them are great supporting team and hardly more.Musically album varies from post-bop with serious Jarrett's classical influences to more polished mix of third stream and Nordic folk, but in all cases sound is well rounded, emotionally cool and only Jarrett great piano playing makes it alive.

Borderline album in many senses: after its release Jarrett will continue working for ECM recording few more albums with European quartet, Garbarek will develop similar musical direction on his later albums, but without Jarrett's jazz roots Garbarek's music very soon will be transformed to cold background world fusion,close to new age. The sound, presented on this album (as well as many similar releases of mid-late 70s) will evolute to post-bop rooted, but comfortably-polished melodic contemporary jazz of 90s.

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 Witchi-Tai-To by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.19 | 8 ratings

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Witchi-Tai-To
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

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 .

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 Sart (with  Bobo Stenson  / Terje Rypdal  / Arild Andersen  / Jon Christensen ) by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.00 | 6 ratings

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Sart (with Bobo Stenson / Terje Rypdal / Arild Andersen / Jon Christensen )
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Sart is Jan Garbarek's second release on ECM label and third in line release of his quartet (yes pianist Bobo Stenson collaborates on Sart as fifth member, but his participation is of quite limited character and didn't change quartet's musical direction, so I think it's not a big mistake to count this album as Garbarek's quartet + Bobo Stenson release). After these three Garbarek's solo releases he will change his band's format to trio, and musical direction will start changes dramatically.

Returning back to Sart, this album sounds in a key of previous quartet works, combining electric fusion and acoustic avant-garde jazz elements. Comparing with previous album (I believe "Afric Pepperbird" is absolute Garbarek's peak release) Sart is not so explosive and sharp, but more mature. Garbarek's sax sounds often seriously influenced by electric period Miles Davis (electric Terje Rypdal guitar's sound only support this feeling), but on other compositions he turns more towards screaming European avant-garde jazz.

On all album Terje Rypdals' guitar is very important instrument,seriously influenced all music's sound with jazz fusion flavor. On his next (trio's) album Garbarek will play guitar-less music, and what a huge difference in sound it would be!

I think that three first Garbarek's albums are possibly most adventurous,experimental and interesting series in all his discography.On his later releases he will turn slowly to more accessible sound, melting jazz with folklore and classics and using much more polished sound. There will be some really successful albums still released, but Garbarek's golden legacy is these three very first works.

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 Triptykon (with Arild Andersen and Edward Vesala) by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.92 | 7 ratings

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Triptykon (with Arild Andersen and Edward Vesala)
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Jan Garbarek's fourth solo album (and third on ECM label). After two quartet releases, and one quintet (same Garbarek's quartet plus Bobo Stenton on keyboards) and two brave and hungry ECM avant-garde albums, Garbarek changed his band's format to trio. Guitarist Terje Rypdal is gone and Finnish drummer Edward Vesala came instead of Jon Christensen.

As a result of personal and band format's changes, this album's music is quite different. Free jazz of 60s influence is still really strong, but guitar-less trio with more straight ahead and heavy drummer recorded a collection of impressionist pictures instead of previous energetic and sometimes even sharp free-jazz. Important new element in Garbarek's music is huge doze of Nordic folklore, mixed with imaginative free-jazz. Some compositions contain strong (Nordic folk's) melodies and whole music, even if still dark in a moments, are far not so explosive and sharp, as before.

Innovative (for a moment of release) combination of musical elements and great musicianship make both this album another great turn in Garbarek earlier career. Listening to this album one can easily understand where from later Garbarek's world fusion compositions were started. Happily, this album is still very artistic,innovative and inspired, nothing like many later conformist Garbarek's releases.

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 The Esoteric Circle ( with Terje Rypdal,Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen - as The Esoteric Circle) by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.00 | 7 ratings

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The Esoteric Circle ( with Terje Rypdal,Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen - as The Esoteric Circle)
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Jan Garbarek's solo debut, released on US-label Flying Dutchman under "Esoteric Circle" project's name (and later re-released as his solo album), is really interesting release for every Garbarek fan.

First of all,music presented there is a bit raw but innovative mix of post-bop, fusion and avant- garde jazz. Musician's line up is the same as on Garbarek second, much better known album (and his debut on ECM), but the music sounds different. Rhythm section is more conservative there and rarely leaves post-bop tradition, but Garbarek's tenor sax and partially Rypdal's electric guitar make some trips to fusion and avant-garde zones. As a result, album in whole sounds slightly unfocused, but raw,dirty and even explosive in moments (what is impossible for any Garbarek's recorded on ECM music).

Some compositions have strong emotional vibes, nice tunes, and Coltrane's influences are obvious there.At the same time, Jon Christensen and Terje Rypdal bring some heavier and rockier elements, from jazz-rock to rock jamming. Eclectic and quite unusual musical mix for Garbarek's album, isn't it?

Rare and interesting release illustrating Garbarek's (and Rypdal's) early musical influences,inspired and innovative as few first Garbarek's ECM albums are.

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 Afric Pepperbird by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.02 | 10 ratings

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Afric Pepperbird
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator 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+!

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 Officium Novum by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.62 | 12 ratings

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Officium Novum
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by idlero

5 stars If it worked once, why wouldn't it work again? The same formula that made "Officium" a best seller for ECM is used again in "Officium Novum"-Jan Garbarek on soprano and tenor saxophone together with Hilliard Ensemble, only that this time they play vocal pieces from Eastern Europe from medieval sources but also from 20th century Armenian priest, musicologist, and composer Komitas; Nikolai N. Kedrov, a Russian composer of the same era; mid-20th century Greek composer Giorgios Sefaris; Estonian Arvo Pärt. Someone said about "Officium" that either you love it, or you hate it.Well it remains valid for "Officium Novus" too. For me it's worth a *****, although it's place in progarchives is arguable.

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 Belonging (with  Keith Jarrett, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen) by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.18 | 11 ratings

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Belonging (with Keith Jarrett, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen)
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It's interesting to hear Jan Garbarek playing with Keith Jarrett but for me that's all it is. Piano and sax dominate this album along with double-bass and drums. It's the sax and piano though that often take turns leading or lead together.This album is very laid back and mellow.

"Spiral Dance" opens with piano before the sax joins in before a minute. Bass and drums follow. Good tune and my favourite. "Blossom" opens with sparse piano as relaxing sax melodies join in. Bass and light drums before 3 minutes. A very mellow and laid back song.

"Long As You Know Yopur Living Yours" opens with piano, bass and drums. Sax a minute in.The sax is better before 4 minutes as Jan gets passionate. Piano leads a minute later. "Belonging" opens with sparse piano and sax.This is a painful and long listen. "The Windup" is uptempo with piano out front. Sax before a minute. This is almost catchy. Piano only after 2 minutes. Drums and bass join in at 2 1/2 minutes. Sax only 5 minutes in. Everyone then returns. "Solstice" opens with lazy piano melodies as bass then sax join in. Sax leads around 5 1/2 minutes until before 9 minutes, then it's the piano's turn.

If your into light Jazz with lots of piano and sax you'll probably love this album.

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 Places by GARBAREK,JAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.50 | 8 ratings

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Places
Jan Garbarek Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well I must admit this was a disappointment for me after his amazing "Afric Pepperbird" album. I was expecting something similar I guess, and when you see that Jack DeJohnette and Bill Connors are on board my expectations were even higher. This album is laid back with atmosphere which is good, but there's no electric guitar (all acoustic guitar) and the sax comes off as being very smooth. It's a light album and I think in part because of the sax it's not dark or melancholic in the least.Terje Rypdal albums while atmospheric have a whole different dynamic with the electric guitar, melancholia and darkness.

"Reflections" is by far the best track and one I enjoy a lot.The sax is more aggressive here and I like the way the organ floats in the background creating atmosphere. I also like how it gets louder from a quiet beginning. Piano in this one as well. As usual the drumming is light and intricate and we get some acoustic guitar.

"Entering" opens with sax. Acoustic guitar and organ 1 1/2 minutes in. Sax leads again fairly quickly. It picks up before 4 minutes with light drums, sax and acoustic guitar.The song stops 6 minutes in before ending with atmosphere, sax and acoustic guitar. "Going Places" is a little more uptempo with drums, acoustic guitar and sax. Organ floats in around a minute.The acoustic guitar leads before 6 minutes then the drums and organ come to the fore 7 1/2 minutes in. Sax is back a minute later. Piano before 11 minutes. "Passing" is laid back with more of the same really.

3.5 stars. I do like this album but it's missing a lot of the things that I love about ECM releases.

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Thanks to snobb for the artist addition.

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