ECM at 50 events (EFG London Jazz Festival 15 & 17 Nov)

Peter Bacon reports: The ongoing celebrations that surround ECM Records’ 50th birthday, will, we are reliably informed, continue well into 2020, but are represented In London this month with concerts by ECM artists gathered together on two days of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Sunday 17 November is the big day with four events, while Friday 15 November has two more (though you will have to make that difficult choice because they run simultaneously). Here is the festival’s press release drawing attention to them: Nik Bärtsch & Sophie Clements  Barbican, Friday 15 November (7.30pm) ECM artist Nik Bärtsch joins forces with visual artist Sophie Clements in an evening fusing piano with sculpture, film and installation design. The two began collaborating in 2015 and have since drawn on a variety of influences for their performances including Asian philosophy, minimalism and fine art. Marcin Wasilewski Trio   Cadogan Hall, Friday 15 November (7.30pm) Celebrating more than one anniversary, including their own 25th anniversary, the Marcin Wasilewski Trio offer a journey reflecting emotions and experiences with their distinctive sound which merges several cultural landscapes. New ECM artist Fred Thomas will open the gig – a member of the FIRE collective, known for his breadth of musical styles and re-interpretations of J.S.Bach. ‘Recording for ECM’ – talk with Jane Cornwell  Purcell Room, Sunday 17 November (12.30pm)  To kick start the day of celebrations, join Julia Hülsmann and Joe Lovano for a conversation, moderated by Jane Cornwell, focusing on their experiences recording for ECM and how the label has been home to their music with its values, culture and aesthetics.

The Julia Hülsmann Quartet (Photo courtesy of ECM)

Julia Hülsmann Quartet 
Purcell Room Sunday 17 November (2.30pm)  Often nicknamed ‘the poet of German Jazz’, Julia Hülsmann has been affiliated with ECM Records for over a decade and will be joining the anniversary celebrations with her long-time collaborators Marc Muellbauer (bass) and Hendrich Köbberling (drums). For her seventh album Not Far From Here – released this month – Hülsmann expanded her trio into a quartet, welcoming the addition of tenor saxophonist Uli Kempendorff and with him, a brand-new timbre to the group. Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry + Elina Duni & Rob Luft 
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Sunday 17 November (5pm)  Jazz saxophonist legend, Joe Lovano, has appeared on numerous ECM records over the past 40 years including albums by Paul Motian and John Abercrombie. Earlier this year Lovano released his first recording as a leader with the label – Trio Tapestry – which features Marilyn Crispell (piano) and Carmen Castaldi (drums). Swiss-Albanian singer Elina Duni will open the evening with guitarist and BBC New Generation Artist Rob Luft, who will take us on a journey from timeless folk songs to original material about contemporary issues facing us all.

Jan Garbarek (Photo courtesy of ECM)

Jan Garbarek Group  Royal Festival Hall, Sunday 17 November (8pm) As one of the most influential musicians on the European jazz scene, Jan Garbarek has been one of the key musicians defining ECM’s sound with his ethereal, meditative and undeniably Scandinavian tone. At the age of 72 he is on tour again with pianist and keyboarder Rainer Brüninghaus, bassist Yuri Daniel and the Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu. Immerse yourself in Garbarek’s musical imagination, his self-described ‘rolling thing’ of creativity, which ranges from Norwegian songs to African sounds. Other artists who have recorded with ECM will feature across the festival including Martin Speake, Steve Swallow, Nils Okland, Dave Holland, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Barry Guy, Zakir Hussain, Kit Downes, Chris Potter, Savina Yannatou and John Scofield.

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