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January 25 , 2013

Reviews of the Week

English magazine Jazzwise on Eivind Aarset's Dream Logic

It’s fairly clear Aarset is an innovator of some clout as Dream Logic – his finest work to date – strongly suggests. The most significant jazz album to come out of Norway since Khmer in the late 1990s.
Stephen Graham, Jazzwise

American and British reviewers welcome the first complete CD edition of Keith Jarett's Hymns/Spheres

Jarrett's solo improvisations have always possessed an inherent spirituality but, performed on baroque organ, rarely has it been so far to the fore. The two hymns are particularly majestic, and if Jarrett's reputation as a fearless improvisational explorer was already established by 1976, the many stops available on this baroque organ allowed him to experiment with sound as well, making Hymns/Spheres as wondrous sonically as it is a high point in the ongoing evolution of Jarrett's extemporaneous acumen. [...]
Hymns/Spheres can finally be heard in its full (and remastered) glory, taking its rightful place as one of Jarrett's most significant recordings in its demonstration that, for this intrepid improviser, nothing is forbidden...and everything is possible.
John Kelman, AllAboutJazz

As completely free improvisation this is just as spellbinding as the piano pieces, and has even been compared to his famous Köln Concert. It has the additional fascination of some remarkable effects that he discovered while manipulating the organ stops. At times it sounds almost electronic.
Dave Gelly, The Observer

Jarrett lets loose his vivid imagination and magisterial sense of form from the outset to create an eloquent and gripping narrative that transcends musical boundaries, freely mingling new ideas with conventional wisdom.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times

The Sirens, Chris Potter's ECM debut as a leader, impresses critics in England and America

The Sirens is arguably Potter’s boldest, most persuasive recording as a leader to date. Most titles are references for from Homer’s ancient poem The Odyssey, an inspiration for his writing on the album. Potter is on sizzling form throughout [...] It’s Potter’s growth as a leader and his breadth of vision that come to the fore in the second half: while ‘Kalypso’ might highlight his debt to Sonny Rollins, the rapturous soprano sax-led ballad ‘Penelope’ and the title track, with Larry Grenadier’s arco bass and Potter’s bass clarinet’s ascetic, pure tone, brings things far closer to the kind of yearning European jazz soundscapes we are more likely to hear on an ECM album by John Surman.
Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise

The Sirens retains the distinctive muscle and firepower that's made Potter so vastly influential but, unsurprisingly, posits some new perspectives as well. It represents a return, after the saxophonist's last few years with Underground—which also (likely not at all coincidentally) included Taborn—to an all-acoustic environs, but if the idea of Potter in a more traditional setting with piano, bass and drums suggests something predictable, the wildcard here—beyond a stellar assemblage which is anything but predictable—is the presence of two pianists. Taborn—heard here solely on grand piano—is another rapid riser of Potter's vintage [...] His own ECM leader debut, Avenging Angel (2011), was an encyclopedic tour de force that ranks among the label's best solo piano recordings.[...] But it's David Virelles, a relative newcomer—not just to ECM but to the scene in general—who adds the difference that turns what would, no doubt, have been a great session into a positively stellar one. [...] . Here, contributing prepared piano, harmonium, and the chime-like celeste, Virelles also appears to be on a rapid upward trajectory, his interactions with Taborn particularly notable, the two engaging at a deep level during "Nausikaa" and in the ethereal album closer, "The Shades".[...] Through it all, there’s no mistaking this for anything but a chris Potter record, but with The Siren he’s delivered one unlike any he’s done before.
John Kelman, All about Jazz

Süddeutsche Zeitung on Christian Reiner's reading of the Turmgedichte by German poet Friedrich Hölderlin

Der Gedichtvortrag gleicht einer Performance für das Soloinstrument Stimme. Und sie kann, dank Hölderlins späten, rätselhaften, scheinbar geistiger Umnachtung entstammenden Naturgedichten, einen Seelenraum füllen – für den, der die Gelassenheit dafür aufbringt. […] Es ist das ein anderer Zugang als der, den Bruno Ganz anbot, als er vor Jahrzehnten, ebenfalls für ECM, Hölderlin las. Ganz ist ein Textkünstler des Schauspiels, der 1970 in München geborene Christian Reiner tritt gleichsam als Hölderlins Sprachrohr auf. Bei Projekten mit Tänzern, Musikern und bildenden Künstlern hat er eine existenzielle Eindringlichkeit entwickelt, verbunden mit größter Sanftheit. Er drängt den Hörer nicht in eine Interpretation hinein, sondern zieht ihn leise ins Zentrum der dichterischen Gedanken. […] Die Stimme Christian Reiners strahlt Ruhe, Nähe der Natur, Selbstgenügsamkeit aus – vergleichbar Hölderlins unendlicher Abgeschiedenheit und Melancholie in seinem Tübinger Turm? Diese nur scheinbar naive Naturlyrik, die Wilhelm Killmayers Musik am wahrsten eingefangen hatte, ist ganz Vordergrund, hinter dem sich aber Räume öffnen…
Wolfgang Schreiber, Süddeutsche Zeitung