Jan Garbarek and the Windharp

 

Jan Garbarek is another of those jazz players I discovered via ECM. Like many in the ECM stable he was sideman to many & also a solo leader, so I can’t recall where I first heard him. He is a sax player mainly soprano. I have him in various settings. In the collection are as Lp to cd transfers: Esoteric Circle; Dis, Circle; Red Lanta; Red Lanta/Herbie Mann. In an mp3 collection I have Places/In Praise of Dreams w: Eberhard Weber/Parker/Kitaro/El TrioTucked in other mp3 collections is his Dansere; Sol Do Meio Dia. As stand alones I have: Twelve Moons; Officium; Ragas & Sagas

 

Theses range from the free jazz of Esoteric Circles to the meditative Officium. His soaring sax sound is to distinct I can recognize it in works I have never heard before. At once time I would pick up anything he was playing on. Now I suspect I have enough 🙂 His playing is more ‘intellectual’ than swing or bop. He rarely displays the energy of Coltrane but never becomes as sappy as the, to me, unlistenable Kenny G.

 

He is also a master of sonic tapestry as in Dis which features the use of a Wind-harp that is played by gusts of wind coming in from North Sea, creating tones and overtones. How cool is that. On Officium he plays with the classical Hilliard Ensemble, on Ragas & Sagas he is joined by Pakistani musicians.

 

Not all of his work is this conceptual. But he has never been trapped by one genre or texture. Well worth searching out if you are unfamiliar. Dis is a good starting point, as is any of his work with guitarist Ralph Towner. 

Larking About

No one was sure what it meant. The first order larks were positive this was a sign of unwelcome change. The first order robins, on the other talon, were certain that it boded only the best possible opportunities for all the creatures.

‘No. No. No,’ the larks bounced from branch to branch.

‘Yes. Yes. Yes,’ the robins jumped across the ground. ‘We have nothing to fear.’

‘Fear. Fear. Fear,’ the larks insisted. ‘That fear will unravel the nest of our safe lives here. Something must be done.’

‘Nothing must be done.’ the robins replied. ‘Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.’

‘Stop.’ a second string blue jay rasped. ‘This bickering isn’t going to get us anywhere. Does anyone know where it came from.’

‘Cat. Cat. Cat,’ the larks warned and the birds dispersed. 

A quick fragmented scattering of black, red and blue dots lifted into to the air over the trees and settled on higher perches to wait until the cats left.

‘Well. Well,’ the orange cat purred to the grey puss with him ‘We still have our power.’

‘Not all have fled.’ The grey puss looked up into the tree.

‘Ah. A new nest? Let’s investigate.’ the orange cat sprung up. ‘Coming.’

‘No that’s fine. I’ll wait here for you.’

The orange cat clawed up the side of the tree to the branch where the nest was wedged. 

‘It’s not nest. Just some toy that got tossed up into the air and landed here.’ The cat swatted it with his paw. One eye came loose. ‘Teddy bear.’ 

His claw got caught in the string. A tug, two tugs and it was more knotted up. He yanked and the bear came loose and they both fell to the ground.  The grey puss streaked under the gate.

The orange cat shook himself free, paced the yard, rubbed its scent where it was fading and curled up under the tree. Not asleep. Just waiting for those robins to come back. Tasty treats they were. Robins. Yum. 

‘See. See. See.’ the first robins began. ‘It has brought us luck. No cat has ever climbed so high before. 

‘We should have attacked when they fell.’ the blue jay pecked in the direction of the cat. ‘We would have no trouble ending its life. All of us could have attacked at once. But we’ve lost our chance.’

The orange cat stretched out in the sun its head on the teddy bear’s stomach.

‘See. See. See. They are accomplices. He will never leave. We will have to find new homes.’

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