In Praise of Dreams

Jan Garbarek

“In Praise of Dreams” – Jan Garbarek’s first new album in six years – features two musicians with whom the great Norwegian saxophonist shares some history – American-Armenian violist Kim Kashkashian and African-French drummer Manu Katché. Garbarek, Kashkashian and Katché span a lot of idioms between them, but the music sings with a focussed sense of purpose, in the context that Jan has shaped for it. If dreams are movies for the mind, the album is aptly titled – its atmospheres are evocative and decidedly ‘filmic’.

Featured Artists Recorded

2003

  • 1As seen from above
    (Jan Garbarek)
    04:42
  • 2In praise of dreams
    (Jan Garbarek)
    05:21
  • 3One goes there alone
    (Jan Garbarek)
    05:06
  • 4Knot of place and time
    (Jan Garbarek)
    06:22
  • 5If you go far enough
    (Jan Garbarek)
    00:39
  • 6Scene from afar
    (Jan Garbarek)
    05:14
  • 7Cloud of unknowing
    (Jan Garbarek)
    05:22
  • 8Without visible sign
    (Jan Garbarek)
    04:59
  • 9Iceburn
    (Jan Garbarek)
    04:59
  • 10Conversation with a stone
    (Jan Garbarek)
    04:18
  • 11A tale begun
    (Jan Garbarek)
    04:39
Grammy Nomination 2005
Songlines, Top of the world
Stereoplay, CD des Monats
Audio, Jazz-CD des Monats
Consigliato da Musica Jazz
 
Beautifully recorded, beautifully played, wrenching, emotional – words can’t quite do this music justice. Settling down to listen to it, you quickly lose sense of the tracklist and are immersed in another world – as if a film is being projected inside your head. Beautifully phrased melodies and antiphony, with the plaintive viola of US-Armenian Kim Kashkashian, skirt into almost Celtic lines and turn your skin to goose flesh. And with rhythms loops, electronic moments and the subtle additions of African-French percussionist Manu Katché, Garbarek creates a score, a sound-world that opens up corners of your heart and soul.
Mark Espiner, Songlines
 
From the very first track ... the saxophonist serves notice that this is going to be a very different album to anything he has done before. The haunting electronically generated sounds seem to hang in the air like an early morning mist and are penetrated, like the early morning sun, by the sharp, almost crystalline definition of Garbarek’s saxophone, and, on subsequent tracks by Kashkashian on viola. The multiplicities of meaning conjured between them on pieces like “Knot in Time And place” or “Scene from Afar” take this album to a place where no Garbarek album has gone before. … A major statement, possibly among his finest, by a major artist.
Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise
 
As might be expected from the Norwegian saxophonist’s first solo release in six years, this is a crafted album full of intricately worked tunes. Garbarek employs subtle elements of what might be termed the higher electronica, creating elegantly distressed patterns of percussion to blow against. The masterstroke lies in his choice of collaborators: the classical soloist Kim Kashkashian and drummer Manu Katché, whose indeterminate accents make the machine-made pulses come alive. No surprises then, just real music which deepens with every hearing.
Phil Johnson, Independent on Sunday
 
The great Norwegian saxophonist, arguably the most influential non-American star in jazz, hasn’t abandoned his biggest asset, the emotive sound for which the term „plangent“ might have been invented. Beauty remains the name of his game, so unobtrusive samples and synthesizer programmes echo the lyricism of his tenor and soprano saxophone work. Sensitively supported by Afro-French percussionist Manu Katché and US-Armenian viola player Kim Kashkashian, he produces another feast of folk-like themes and graceful variations.
Jack Massarik, Evening Standard
 
Jan Garbarek’s first new disc for six years stood out for its gorgeous melody, clarity of performance and innovative duets with the fabulous viola player Kim Kashkashian. The duo magic up some wonderfully expansive, evocative soundscapes. A meditative album that reveals itself to be full of subtle riches.
Peter Culshaw, Daily Telegraph
 
Schon immer war Jan Garbarek mehr als nur Saxophonist. Eine besondere Aura umgibt diesen asketischen Musiker mit den meist traurigen, aber stets funkelnd-suggestiven Tönen ... Die Konsequenz, mit der Garbarek dunkle Stimmungen auslebt, ist unerbittlich. Ständig herrscht Nacht in den elf musikalischen Meditationen. Es wachsen mit düsterem Sog Atmosphären, in die man sich wunderbar hineinfallen lassen kann: Dabei ist die Nacht nicht tot, sie birgt Geheimnisse und Träume, die sich immer etwas Liebliches bewahren. ...
In Praise of Dreams ist ein Dialog zwischen dem Saxophonisten Garbarek und dem Programmierer Garbarek. Entstanden ist ein kammermusikalisches, stilles Studioalbum, das konzentrierter und strenger gearbeitet ist als frühere Einspielungen des Norwegers. Die Grooves sind äußerst dezent. Aus dem Synthesizer zaubert Garbarek keine klebrigen Saucen, sondern durchsichtige Klangfäden und – tupfer. Umso stärker kommen über dem matt schimmernden Background Garbareks Saxophontöne zur Geltung: Mal sind es kleine Urschreie, dann wieder wie aus Stein gehauene Linien. Dramatisch-Raues und Schmiegsames verbinden sich: ein echter Garbarek eben.
Christoph Merki, Tages-Anzeiger
 
Die Lobpreisung der Träume beginnt mit einem veritablen Aufwecker. ... So richtig jubilieren kann der Zuhörer erst, wenn dieses Eingangsstück verklungen ist und Garbarek mit der Bratschistin Kim Kashkashian die Hymne „In praise of dreams“ anstimmt, die an schwelgerischer Schönheit und Faszinationskraft kaum zu überbieten ist. Über einem pumpenden Beat umkreisen sich Garbarek und Kashkashian, kosten die Klangfüller ihrer Instrumente aus und finden zu einem wunderbaren Einklang von Saxophon und Bratsche. Den von einem tiefen Ernst durchzogenen, zugleich dezent verspielten Grundton dieses Meisterstücks halten Garbarek, Kashkashian und Katché über den Rest des Albums. Behutsamkeit und Offenheit prägen die Dialoge und lenken die Fülle an Ideen in klare, verblüffend leicht nachvollziehbare Strukturen. ... Garbarek öffnet in dieser Konstellation Türen in wahrlich ungehörte Klangräume, irgendwo zwischen Jazz, Folk und Kammermusik angesiedelt und doch mit Worten kaum greifbar.
Matthias Inhoffen, Stereoplay
 
Jan Garbarek bleibt sich auch hier treu: Seine schwebenden Saxophon-Klänge und verträumten Kompositionen prägen auch diese CD, die er zusammen mit der armenischen Bratschistin Kim Kashkashian und afrikanisch-französischen Perkussionisten Manu Katché eingespielt hat. Traumhaft schön, zeitlos meditativ, sinnlich ruhig.
Reinmar Wagner, Musik & Theater
 
Vielleicht sollte man beim Hören dieses traumschönen Garbarek-Albums mit dem letzten Stück beginnen; viereinhalb Minuten schweben Garbareks Saxophon und Kim Kashkashians Viola in einer schlichten, ganze sechs Noten umfassenden Melodie neben- und miteinander, tanzen einen ergreifenden pas des deux, verschmelzen, lösen sich, nähern sich an, immer wieder und wieder. ... In Kim Kashkashian hat Garbarek eine Seelenverwandte gefunden, die seine Ästhetik des Elegischen nicht nur teilt, sondern mit ihrem Instrument geradezu verkörpert. ... Und Manu Katché? Dem Drummer ... fällt die ein wenig undankbare Aufgabe des ergänzenden Dritten zu. Seine dunklen Drumsounds liefern erst den notwendigen Hintergrund für die Himmelsflüge von Saxophon und Viola. Neben Garbareks eindringlichen Kompositionen ist es diese Mischung von Klangfarben, die In Praise of Dreams zu einem umwerfenden Hörerlebnis macht.
Heribert Ickerott, Jazzpodium
 
Une opulence mélodique qui hérissera le poil de ceux qui n’aiment pas chanter sous la douche, mais qui comblera ceux qui considèrent que le chant, fût-il obsédant ou suggéré, murmuré ou jailli à pleins poumons, est la chair de toute musique. Chez Garbarek, comme chez Keith Jarrett ou Albert Ayler, il ne s’encombre pas de pudeur. Pas de voiles, juste la jouissance. Le dépouillement délibéré de la formule choisie par le saxophoniste (et bidouilleur) – le violon alto de Kim Kashkashian et le drumming de Manu Katché – ampoifie encore le parti pris de ligne claire. Et il y a, dans cet «habillage» des mélodies, une approche minimaliste des timbres qui est un fascinant travail d’orfèvre. À des années lumière des beautés convulsives, mais en plein cœur d’une sensualité plus assumée que jamais par le saxophoniste. Toute tension evacuée, la musique s’élève en volutes dans un «temps» onirique, presque hypnotique. Sous ses apparences «faciles», l’un des disques les plus radicaux de Jan Garbarek: il n’avait encore jamais poussé le bouchon aussi loin sur le chemin du «less is more».
Alex Dutilh, Jazzman
 
 
 
“A master storyteller whose tales are set off by bolts of lightning and cascades of ice”
-Jazz Times

“In Praise of Dreams” is the first new album from Jan Garbarek since “Rites” was released six years ago. A striking work, with some of Garbarek’s most intensely melodic writing, characteristically powerful solo statements, and spirited instrumental exchanges, it also emphasises the Norwegian saxophonist’s capacities as composer-orchestrator-arranger, and proposes some new colours and textures in its blending of acoustic and electronic elements. Yet the work’s authorship is evident from the very first unmistakable saxophone tone: “I think more in terms of evolution than revolution,” Jan Garbarek says, “the changes in the music taking place slowly over time, but there are some surprises here.”

Although the trio heard on the disc is unprecedented, there is also a logic to the unorthodox line-up. “In Praise of Dreams” features two musicians with whom Jan Garbarek has some history – American-Armenian violist Kim Kashkashian and African-French drummer Manu Katché. Garbarek, Kashkashian and Katché span a lot of idioms between them, but the music sings with a focussed sense of purpose, in the context that Jan has shaped for it. If dreams are movies for the mind, the album is aptly titled - its atmospheres are evocative and decidedly ‘filmic’. The use of loops and samples, in fact, only occasionally stressed on earlier Garbarek albums (“All Those Born With Wings”, “Visible World”), has been a hallmark of music Garbarek has written for film, theatre and ballet. The most immediately striking aspect of “In Praise of Dreams”, however, is its dialogic quality, the interweaving melodies of saxophone and viola. “I was really overwhelmed by the life and the depth that Kim brought to the lines that I presented to her…The way she plays the viola, the sensibility of the phrasing, all the subtleties and nuances of her sound production, it’s very close to the way I’d like to play saxophone. There seems to be a very good connection between our timbres, too, which was even more than I had hoped for. The richness in her sound brings the music to another level and gives me something to reach for, in my improvisations. It was inspiring to work with her.”

Describing Kim Kashkashian as “a very powerful new agent in my music-making”, Garbarek adds that “her strong sound had come to define the viola in a new way for me. I’d had many opportunities to listen to her music on ECM recordings through the years, in chamber music or orchestral contexts.”

The paths of Garbarek and Kashkashian had also crossed on several occasions. Both, for instance, were invited to contribute as soloists to music that Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou shaped for the films of Theo Angelopoulos, Garbarek appearing on the soundtrack of “The Beekeeper” (and subsequently on Karaindrou’s ECM debut “Music for Films”) and Kashkashian at the centre of the music for “Ulysses’ Gaze”. Kim Kashkashian had also been closely associated with Georgian composer Giya Kancheli. On his “Caris Mere” album, recorded in 1994/1995, Kancheli revised his “Night Prayers” to include Jan’s saxophone, while Kashkashian appeared on the title track.

In 1999, at Norway’s Bergen Festival, Jan Garbarek and Kim Kashkashian finally had a chance to play together, in an Armenian Night highlighting the music of composer Tigran Mansurian. “I played, more or less impromptu, with Kim on an Armenian folk song,” Jan Garbarek recalls, “And just being near that sound of hers was really magic for me, and consolidated my feeling that this is the way to play the viola.” Mansurian subsequently wrote the piece “Lachrymae” for Garbarek and Kashkashian, which they perform on the new album “Monodia”: “That brought our two sounds even closer together. So when I came to prepare material for ‘In Praise of Dreams’ Kim’s sound was very much in my mind…”

From her side, Kim Kashkashian was moved by the freedom and authority of Garbarek’s magisterial saxophone playing:

“The process of producing a sonority that informs through its content alone has always held a fascination for me. In Jan’s playing, I found a thrilling example of this element. Any sound he makes has an inevitable musical and organic logic based on an ever-flowing and unfailing relationship between duration, shape, and tension. It was a challenge and a pleasure to share in this process, which crosses boundaries of musical style – first with Mansurian’s music, and then with Jan’s own compositions. Thank you, Jan!”
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2023 October 08 NOSPR Concert Hall Katowice, Poland
2023 November 23 Opera Monte Carlo, Monaco
2023 December 06 De Bijloke Gent, Belgium