|L-R: Glauco Venier, Norma Winstone, Klaus Gesing|
Descasado will be release on ECM on 16 February 2018
Photo credit and © Paolo Soriani
For this first London Column of 2018 I have followed the lead of Roald Dahl. In the last two sentences of his very last book, The Minpins, he wrote: “The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” So, dear readers, this London Column is about UK artists, but in our search for magic we are headed for Gräfelfing near Munich.
And why there? Because the ECM label is based there and because releases on the label by British artists is about to become a recurring theme. In the wake of Django Bates‘ first album as leader on ECM, The Study of Touch, released in November, a tone has been set: the first quarter of 2018 will see no fewer than five more albums (*) with UK artists either leading the bands or in a prominent role: John Surman and Kit Downes in January, Norma Winstone and Tommy Smith (in Arild Andersen’s trio) in February, and Andy Sheppard in March.
From one perspective there is actually no surprise. Because, in reality, ECM’s interest in the UK scene has been a constant for the past four decades. As Steve Lake of the label says: “We’ve been recording music from Britain almost since the beginning of the company’s history. You go right back to the earliest releases Evan Parker and Derek Bailey – they were there even before Jan Garbarek was. There’s just a lot of talent… the British scene has always been a lively scene.” So ECM always had a connection to music from the UK.
Yes, there is a real long term and sustainable approach here, as is shown by the example of Norma Winstone, whose album Descansado – Songs for Films in her trio with Glauco Venier and Klaus Gesing is about to be released, but who made her first recording for the label – Azymuth – as long ago as 1977. She describes working with the label: “It is amazing the interest they take in all of their artists. They get behind them as much as they can. They are very supportive.”
The original German text is published online (LINK).. Jazzthetik is widely available in the German-speaking world.
ALBUMS AND THEIR RELEASE DATES
Kit Downes – Obsidian 19/1/18
John Surman – Invisible Threads 19/1/18
Andy Sheppard – Romaria 16/2/18
Norma Winstone – Descansado 16/2/18
Arild Andersen with Tommy Smith – Live in Bad Ischl. Date to be confirmed
(*) correct at the time of submitting the original article, current dates are as in this updated list.