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August 26 , 2011

Reviews of the week

Athens Concert collects first reactions:

Charles Lloyd’s unique sax playing always sounds voicelike, but even more so on this live show from an Athens amphitheatre with an old friend, Greek singing star Maria Farantouri. The music’s grip hardly slackens, from the quiet opening to the poem I Kept Hold of My Life to a thundering finale of traditional Greek songs powered by folk-dance rhythms, funk and loose jazz swing, played by Lloyd’s regular band plus two local recruits. […] Lloyd’s sound is like nobody else’s, and this unusual album is a fascinating setting for it.
John Fordham, The Guardian

Lloyd’s horn and Farantouri’s contralto share a tonal range, and the two musicians share a gift for imposing their own world on silence. They occupy the same rapt emotional domain. […] When she interacts with Lloyd, they go together to a spiritual place deep beneath the lyricism. In “Journey to Kythera”, from a score by the great Greek film composer Eleni Karaindrou, and in Lloyd’s “Prayer”, where Farantouri improvises without words, voice and saxophone become manifestations of a single impulse. In “Prayer” and several other tracks, the lyra of Socratis Sinopoulos enters, a yearning, sweet sound of extraordinary poignance.
Thomas Conrad, Stereophile

Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff finds place in the Financial Times:

Georges Gurdjieff composed and dictated volumes of piano music. Levon Eskenian’s Gurdjieff Folk Instruments Ensemble reclaims these pieces from the salons of Paris and takes them back to their roots in the Caucasus. […] they reveal their origins and themselves.
David Honigmann, Financial Times

Amina Alaoui's album Arco Iris with positive reaction in the Jazzwise Magazine:

Beautiful, dreamy stuff from – who else? – the ever-adventurous ECM label, which has given the Moroccan singer, composer, poet and scholar Amina Alaoui free rein after her compelling debut performance as the voice of Jon Balke’s 2008 Album “Siwan”. Flanked by an ensemble of musicians on oud, violin, mandolin, guitar and percussion, the multi-awardwinning Alaoui lends her tremulous, crystalline tones to a veritable rainbow of songs: to mystic poems by saints and ancient kings, to nature poetry in homage to the verdant Andalucia. Truly exemplary.
Jane Cornwell, Jazzwise

The Soundtrack of ECM's roadmovie Sounds and Silence is reviewed as a good entrance into the world of the label:

ECM aus München ist nicht irgendein Label – der vielen und allesamt berechtigten Auszeichnungen wegen, die für einen Unabhängigen auf dem überfüllten CD-Markt nicht an der Tagesordnung sind, vor allem aber, weil die von Manfred Eicher produzierte und in exquisitem, wieder erkennbarem Outfit herausgegebene Musik nun bereits maßgeblich die Sozialisation mehrerer Hörergenerationen bestimmt hat. Zeit also, sein Schaffen in einem Film zu würdigen. Diese CD dazu ist Label-Einstieg und Zwischenfazit zugleich.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Leipziger Volkszeitung