The violin's an unlikely instrument for a jazz tune - but as you'll hear in this set, it's one that can sound pretty darn great when handled by the right artist! The collection has a strong focus on European use of the violin in jazz during the 60s and 70s - in a movement that took the instrument strongly past its older swing-based use in the US, and into hipper territory that really explored its sonic properties with a lot more depth! Some tunes have a rootsy feel, others are more open and electric - and a good bit of this material (nearly all of it) was recorded for the MPS label, and benefits from both the strong production and new freedoms allowed to its artists.
For the first time under the direction of a foreigner, Paolo Damiani, the French orchestra explores themes related to the Mediterranean area. With the help of special guests Anouar Brahem and Gianluigi Trovesi, the Italian musical director offers musical landscapes that encompass the various aspects of the region. The album opens with a suite penned by Trovesi, which digs deep into the Italian musical tradition, but also incorporates more recent influences from the Middle East and Africa. With the brass instruments in the forefront, it is definitely the most colorful and animated segment of the disc.
"This album has been recorded live at Berlin Jazz Festival 1971 on Nov 7 in the Philharmonic Hall. Ponty is clearly the dominant force behind this extraordinary violin meeting with Harris, Urbaniak and Brantner, a follow up to his 1966 'Violin Summit' concert with Grappelli, Smith and Asmussen. Fully half of this release is dedicated to Ponty's potent compositions, including an unaccompanied exploration of "Flipping," a duet with Don Sugarcane Harris on "Astrorama," and "Violin Summit No. II," a finale featuring all four men. Unlike it's predecessor of 1966, the rhythm section is strongly fusion oriented and consists of world famous jazz celebrities. An very important example of jazz violin from the early fusion era." allmusic.com
Violin virtuoso Paul Giger revisits his roots with this, his second solo recording, Alpstein, which features pieces for violin, saxophone, and percussion based on the folk traditions of the Alpstein region of Switzerland. Three pieces here are entitled "Zäuerli" – named after the sad majestic "natur yodel" tradition of the Outer Rhoden region. These are sweeping and majestic with high harmonic bowstrokes. This recording features the saxophone work of Jan Garbarek and the percussion of Pierre Favre. Both add an incredible warmth to the recording on the pieces they are featured on, most notably "Alpsegen" with its soaring sax lines and manic percussion. Also notable is "Chlauseschuppel," featuring the sounds of cowbells specific to that region. Informative booklet included.
On esko we go on a musical journey across Europe to the extraordinary land of Bohemia (popularly known as esko, but officially means Czech), the homeland of two composers we have come to love so much. It doesn't seem to matter that we hardly know their country: the indescribable energy of the music, with its folk melodies and harmonies, revealing the essence of a nation steeped in a deep cultural history, takes us there instantly.