Skip to content

ECM Records

ECM Records

Screen Shot 2020-07-24 at 8.41.20 PM

Contacts

Label Publicists:
Maureen McFadden

Publicists:
Nuria Hunter
Don Lucoff

 The independent record label ECM – Edition of Contemporary Music – was founded by producer Manfred Eicher in Munich in 1969, and to date has issued more than 1500 albums spanning many idioms. Emphasising improvisation from the outset, ECM established its reputation with standard-setting recordings by Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and many more and began to include contemporary composition – including Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and Meredith Monk Dolmen Music  – in its programme in the late 1970s and early 80s.

To introduce Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa a sister label, ECM New Series, was launched in 1984. The New Series has since become a broad platform for a spectrum of composed music from the pre-baroque era to the present day. The label continues to issue premiere recordings of Pärt’s works, and a number of these reappear in Manfred Eicher’s Pärt-sequence Musica Selecta, issued on the composer’s 80th birthday on September 11, 2015. Other contemporary composers regularly featured in the New Series include György Kurtág, Valentin Silvestrov, Tigran Mansurian, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Heinz Holliger,  Heiner Goebbels, Alexander Knaifel,  Helena Tulve and Giya Kancheli, whose newest album Chiaroscuro (released October 2015) brings together violinists Gidon Kremer and Patricia Kopatchinskaja for the first time, to powerful effect.

New music, improvised or notated, builds upon the strengths of earlier models, and the concept of modern music informed by older music resonates through the improvised and composed projects heard on ECM.  Amongst current and recent releases Tigran Hamasyan’s  Luys I Luso  stands out, a highly imaginative recasting of Armenian sacred music for choir and improvising pianist.   Meanwhile, fellow Armenian Levon Eskenian arranges the compositions of Komitas for the folk instrumentation of the Gurdjieff Ensemble, with a blend of sonorities that can seem both archaic and experimental.   

For Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim, Anthony De Mare commissioned 36 composers, from Steve Reich to Wynton Marsalis, to reconsider a music-theatre song by Stephen Sondheim as a piece for solo piano.  On Gesualdo Brett Dean and Erkki-Sven Tüür reflect on the agonized life and music of the Prince of Venosa, in a programme which also includes Gesualdo transcriptions by Tüür and conductor Toñu Kaljuste. In parallel activities, György Kurtág dovetails his radiant Bach transcriptions into the cheerful games and homages of his Jatékok collection for piano and four hands on In Memoriam Haydée, and Heinz Holliger layers the enigmatic music of Guillaume de Machaut with his own subtle variants for three violas and the four singers of the Hilliard Ensemble. 

The Hilliards realized one of the most potent blendings of old and new in their Officium collaboration with improvising saxophonist  Jan Garbarek, a combination which also packed churches and concert halls for 20 years.  In 2015 former Hilliard tenor John Potter introduced his Amores Pasados project with Trio Mediaeval soprano Anna Maria Friman and lutenists Ariel Abramovich and Jacob Heringman, singing music of John Paul Jones, Sting and Tony Banks, alongside lute songs of the 16th, 17th and early 20th centuries, to “bridge the gap between art song and pop song.”

In another intriguing interweaving of musical eras, Keller Quartet leader András Keller and producer Manfred Eicher collaborated on Cantante e Tranquillo, an album made entirely of slow movements from works of composers from Bach and Beethoven to Ligeti and Kurtág, illuminating some surprising correspondences.

John Cage, whom Schoenberg said was “not a composer but an inventor  - of genius”,   acknowledged an oblique debt to Erik Satie. This is one of several subjects taken up by Sarah Rothenberg and friends on the album Rothko Chapel, featuring Kim Kashkashian on the title piece composed by Morton Feldman and inspired by the deep colour-fields of Mark Rothko’s paintings. 

In jazz, Pat Metheny, making his first ECM appearance in more than three decades, orchestrates the bass solos of one of his formative influences on Homage à Eberhard Weber, an album which also includes vigorous contributions from Jan Garbarek, Gary Burton and the SWR Big Band. 

Keith Jarrett’s solo concert recordings have most often documented the processes of total improvisation  -  as he says, “letting the river move wherever it’s supposed to move”.  Creation, however, re-channels music from several concerts to build a suite of sorts, or an essay in moods and atmospheres. Jarrett is often asked how much his classical playing has influenced his improvising and vice versa. The question is never easy to answer but the improvised encore which concludes a New Series Jarrett album with music of Samuel Barber and Bartók does not seem misplaced.

In other trans-idiomatic wanderings Julia Hülsmann and Theo Bleckmann deploy the language of jazz to address Kurt Weill’s American period on A Clear Midnight. Andy Sheppard  and friends improvise around Gaelic folk song melodies on Surrounded By Sea, and Nils Økland integrates Norwegian tradition with influences from jazz, church music and more on Kjølvatn. Countryman Mathias Eick traces the journey of Norwegian music to the New World on Midwest.  Athens-based lyra player Sokratis Sinopoulos  fronts a jazz-inspired quartet on Eight Winds, and singer Savina Yannatou and the band Primavera en Salonico raise the ghosts of old Thessaloniki, the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’, as they  summon up a spirit of mutual encouragement across national and religious divides once commonplace amongst the city’s musicians.  Elina Duni’s Dallёndyshe, with songs of love and exile, offers a report from neighbouring Albania, while Cymin Samawatie’s  Phoenix pays tribute to outspoken Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzaad.

Jazz, an amalgam-form, a melting-pot music from day one, has always drawn from sources beyond itself. On Break Stuff Vijay Iyer plays Monk, Coltrane and Strayhorn, giants of the tradition, but also incorporates influence from West African drumming, South Indian mridangam playing, Brooklyn hiphop and Detroit techno, and names pieces after the birds of New York, those migrants who still cross borders with impunity. Another Bird is referenced in Chris Potter’s magnum opus Imaginary Cities. Charlie Parker with Strings is a touchstone here, so too Béla Bartók and orchestras of the Arab world.

Round-number birthdays are celebrated by ECM musicians in 2015 -  with Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Dino Saluzzi, Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Arild Andersen and Eberhard Weber all reaching the anniversaries considered amongst life’s milestones.  It is also an anniversary year for an influential organization, Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Now 50 years old the AACM has given important impulses to jazz and new music. ECM’s had a long affiliation with its players, and January releases included Made In Chicago, on which Jack DeJohnette reunited with the movement’s advance guard, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill and Roscoe Mitchell, with stirring results.

[ecs-list-events design="compact" order='DESC' venue="true" excerpt="true" button="Tickets" buttonlink="website"]

  • 2022 Releases | ECM - ECM 2022 Releases ECM began 2022 with pianist Kit Downes’ Vermillion, where he and his trio treaded gentle lyricism and bold creative outbursts in equal measures. Israeli trumpeter Avishai Cohen showed a raw beauty and vulnerability on Naked Truth, his most improvisational ECM recording to date, and saxophonist Mark Turner’s Return from the Stars was an album both exhilarating and thoughtful in its…
  • Nicholas Payton | “The Couch Sessions” | Available Now via Smoke Sessions Records - Visionary Multi-instrumentalist and Composer Nicholas Payton Provides a Vital Dose of Musical Therapy on The Couch Sessions Available Now on Smoke Sessions Records, the Trio Album Features the Dream Rhythm Section of Buster Williams and Lenny White, as Well as the Compositions and Sampled Voices of Masters Like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett and…
  • Vocalist Andy James Interprets Some of Her Favorite Holiday Songs on “Bells Are Ringing” | Available Friday on Le Coq Records - Vocalist Andy James Interprets Some of Her Favorite Holiday Songs on Bells Are Ringing Featuring Bill Cunliffe, Jon Cowherd, Marcus Strickland, Alex Acuña, Ronnie Foster, John Patitucci, Vinnie Colaiuta, Joe LaBarbera and More Available on Digital Platforms November 25 on Le Coq Records On Bells Are Ringing, vocalist Andy James closes out 2022 with an album of holiday songs recorded over the…
  • Mack Avenue Music Group Congratulates Pianist Danilo Perez and Yellowjackets on Three GRAMMY® Award Nominations - Mack Avenue Music Group Congratulates Pianist Danilo Perez and Yellowjackets on Three GRAMMY® Award Nominations “I envision Crisálida as a protected space where we all come together, whether we’re addressing immigration issues, climate change, environmental justice, science, interconnecting different art forms. We need to work together to build our new crisálida, which, to me, is the emotional, mental…
  • On “RETRO Trilogy,” Jazz Singer Allison Adams Tucker Zeroes in on the Three Decades of Her Evolved Freedom of Musical Expression: the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s - On RETRO Trilogy, Jazz Singer Allison Adams Tucker Zeroes in on the Three Decades of Her Evolved Freedom of Musical Expression: the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s Three Full EPs (“1977,” “1988” and “1999”) Will Be Released January Through March Full-Length Album RETRO Trilogy Available April 14 on Allegato Music In today’s streaming world, the process to broadcast the…
  • Israeli Guitarist Tomer Cohen Makes Auspicious Debut with “Not the Same River” | Available February 17 on Hypnote Records - Israeli Guitarist Tomer Cohen Makes Auspicious Debut with Not the Same River Featuring Drummer Obed Calvaire and Bassist Matt Penman Available on February 17 on Hypnote Records A new face on the New York jazz scene, 25-year-old guitarist-composer Tomer Cohen makes his auspicious debut as a leader with Not the Same River, an album that resonates with the same…
  • Available Now: Pianists Hilario Duran and David Virelles Team Up on “Front Street Duets” - Internationally Acclaimed Cuban Jazz Pianists and Composers Hilario Duran and David Virelles Present a Collection of Virtuosic Collaborations on Front Street Duets   Available Today via ALMA Records “With a ton of mutual respect flowing between the two pianists, it’s no surprise that there’s some telepathic communication going on. Each man commands a melodic approach of his…
  • Jazz-Vocal Discovery Tawanda Releases Much-Awaited Debut Album “Smile” on Resonance Records - Exciting Jazz-Vocal Discovery Tawanda, Winner of the 2020 Sarah Vaughan Competition, Releases Much-Awaited Debut Album Smile Available Now on Resonance Records “Tawanda seems to go from zero to belonging in the esteemed company of Veronica Swift, Cecile McLorin Salvant and Cyrille Aimee in negative time, if that could be measured.” — All About Jazz Stream Tracks from Smile On October 28, 2022, Resonance Records, the acclaimed…
  • Arild Andersen Group | “Affirmation” | ECM - Affirmation, Norwegian Bassist Arild Andersen’s First Recording with His New Quartet, is Almost Entirely Improvised Featuring Tenor Saxophonist Marius Neset, Pianist Helge Lien and Drummer Håkon Mjåset Johansen Available Tomorrow via ECM Records “As he edges ever closer to 80, Andersen proves with Affirmation that he’s still got plenty left in the tank.” — The Big Takeover In November…
  • “Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes” Airs Tonight on PBS, Soundtrack Now Available on IN+OUT Records - Tonight, PBS Airs Finding the Right Notes, the Two-Hour Major Documentary on Jazz Legend Ron Carter The Freiburg, Germany Record Label IN+OUT Records Releases the Original Soundtrack of the Film on CD and Double Vinyl with a Bonus Track Partisan Pictures’ Six-Year Project is Produced and Directed by Peter Schnall   WBGO Interview with Ron Carter   “Carter’s…