23.05.2024 | New Release

Luminessence Summer 2024

ECM’s audiophile vinyl-reissue series Luminessence greets Summer with two remarkable recordings from the catalogue: The first-ever vinyl release of Angel Song and the unique trio coming-together of Gateway, out 31 May.

“Destined to go down in history as a jazz classic” was the verdict with which The Guardian greeted Angel Song on its release in 1997, saying, “Wheeler’s compositions and four of the world’s greatest improvisers make for a tranquil set that rewards with every listening. This is beautiful, golden music.” Angel Song is among the apexes of the label’s catalogue, uniting four master-improvisers – each with a unique artistic identity – in an intimate, drummer-less quartet session. Kenny Wheeler is the composer of the nine hauntingly lyrical chamber-elaborations and endows them with his singular timbre on flugelhorn and trumpet in expressive melodic exchanges with alto saxophonist Lee Konitz. Dave Holland’s bass-foundation is as compelling as ever, giving Bill Frisell all the freedom for harmony-encompassing improvisation. The verdict of The Times was equally jubilant: “This is a stirringly beautiful album: Holland’s lithe dependability providing the anchor for the dignified sonorousness of Konitz, the flickering grace of Frisell and the plangent tenderness of Wheeler himself.”



With “daring and visionary spirit”, to quote a Downbeat review from the year of Gateway‘s release, master improvisers John Abercrombie, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette forged a unique vision of trio interplay on their first joint effort under the Gateway moniker. As The Observer noted in an article from the time, “the telepathic ensemble playing and perfect execution make it difficult to believe that this music is almost completely improvised”. The players’ respectively unique instrumental signatures had already fully crystallised here, hinting at the music to come. The Luminessence edition of the album includes liner notes by Wilco’s Nels Cline.



One thing most recordings on the label share in common is the capturing of special moments in real time. That is what “Gateway” is, what it feels like so many years later, for as long as we have ears to listen.   – from the liner notes by Nels Cline




Further titles to be released as part of the Luminessence series are Madar, the one-time coming together of three improvisational forces from multiple musical heritages with Jan Garbarek, oud-master Anouar Brahem and tabla-legend Ustad Shaukat Hussain as well as Annette Peacock’s An Acrobat’s Heart, Marilyn Crispell with Amaryllis, Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life, Rainer Brüninghaus with Freigeweht, Zakir Hussain’s Making Music with Hariprasad Chaurasia, John McLaughlin and Jan Garbarek and Bennie Maupin’s long out of print The Jewel and The Lotus. More will follow.


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