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ECM 2023 Year In Review

2023 Year In Review

Throughout 2023, ECM issued 20 new releases and reissued five albums as part of its Luminessence audiophile vinyl series. In early 2024, ECM will release new recordings by trumpeter Arve Henrikensen and pianst Harmen Fraanje, and saxophonist Matthieu Bordenave.

Sebastian RochfordKit Downes

A Short Diary

Released January 20, 2023

“On A Short Diary, Sebastian Rochford leads from behind. The jazz drummer’s first release under his own name for ECM is unquestionably informed by recent events in his own life, yet Rochford—a former member of Sons of Kemet and Polar Bear who also works with Brian Eno and Andy Sheppard—settles into a restrained, secondary role. Pianist Kit Downes is the main animating force on an album where the two celebrated British players coexist in a gentle place clouded by melancholy.” — Pitchfork

“Diary’s subtlety is its strength. The

drumming is often ghostly, the piano stately but ringing.” — DownBeat

Mette Henriette


Released January 20, 2023

Henriette’s saxophone breathing the unexpected and the imminent, this gives way to Judith Hamann’s cello high and insistent against the commanding piano and saxophone undertone. Contemporary chamber music of power and persuasion, this joins its musicians in a quest for serenity.” — DownBeat

“Henriette’s sound on the tenor sax is fragile and carefully considered, very much in the jazz tradition and even romantic.”— Stereogum

Anders Jormin

Pasado en Claro

Released January 20, 2023

“Songs featuring the work of Mexican writer Octavio Paz and Petrarch, an Italian sonneteer of the early Renaissance, inform Pasado en Claro, a seamless merging of music and poetry that enhances both expressions.” — DownBeat

This set is far greater than the sum of its parts, with a magical, ethereal feel throughout, bags of ambience and a sense that the silences between the notes are as considered as the music itself.”

— Hi-Fi News

Stephan Micus


Released January 20, 2023

“Micus [recorded] his nine homages to thunder gods, spiritual figures one finds across belief systems. Each Thunder segment has its own character, and each tells a different story. This narrative music clears paths fresh to most Western ears.” — DownBeat

“Micus, an eternal traveler with a long-legged career nearly exclusively made on ECM Records, plays 14 instruments here, and forges homogeneous stylistic paths in innovative ways over the course of nine tracks.” — Jazz Trail

Gianluigi Trovesi

Stavaganze Consonanti

Released February 24, 2023

“Romantic at times, martial at others, with a sense of whimsy lightening the mood, Trovesi and Montanari come up with a series of expertly arranged, beautifully performed cuts that don’t so much stretch the boundaries of orchestral music as fold in new wrinkles. — The Big Takeover

“Montanari and Trovesi have produced a project that navigates music boundaries of homage and heritage while exploring new sounds and ideas.”

— Spectrum Culture

Keith Jarrett

Book of Ways

Reissue Released March 10, 2023

“Keith Jarrett’s recording of clavichord improvisations are often viewed with suspicion within the musician’s vast discography. With nothing else to compare it to, the music has often been dismissed and damned by the critics. Like Jarrett’s other projects such as multitracked solo album Spirits recorded a year earlier and Hymns/ Spheres, a double album of organ improvisations from a decade earlier, Book of Ways must be taken as a single entity and free to exist in its own right.” — Jazz Views

Ralph Towner

At First Light

Released March 17, 2023

“At First Light is at once meditative and intimate. It is, as usual, intricately played, offering listeners a statement that is equal parts soulful reflection and masterful, swinging precision.” — AllMusic

“As a whole, At First Light has a more immediate, rawer feel than most of Towner’s previous work. His full, resonant tone is buzzier, with more audible scraping and at times, you can hear him breathing.” — Spectrum Culture

Ralph Alessi Quartet

It’s Always Now

Released March 17, 2023

“The latest release from trumpeter and composer Alessi is a dreamy, easy-flowing outing, bringing together a Euro-American quartet with pianist Florian Webber, who also wrote three of the tracks here, bassist Bänz Oester and drummer Gerry Hemingway.” — Hi-Fi News

“There’s little doubt It’s Always Now won’t be considered a landmark in the Alessi catalog. — The Big Takeover

Bobo Stenson Trio


Released March 17, 2023

“Sphere reminds us that shaping a sustained mood is a longtime Stenson goal. His current associates, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Jon Fält, are united when it comes to servicing this vision. Blending originals with pieces by Alfred Janson, Per Nørgård, Sven-Erik Bäck and Jean Sibelius, their latest program splits the difference between folkish and formal, coming up with a sobriety built on a steady stream of reflection.” — DownBeat

Dominic Miller


Released April 21, 2023

“Tracks like the bright ‘Cruel But Fair,’ the jazzy ‘Lone Waltz, and the moody Clandestin’ paint genre-defying pictures on Vagabond like those conceived by bands like Oregon – expertly performed, instantly appealing and, after a few listens, often sublime.” — The Big Takeover

“Vagabond is demanding, yet supremely rewarding, offering artistic insight to Miller’s musical pathology. Perhaps too somber for some, the album shows him digging deep, and his guitar tones are to die for.” — Vintage Guitar

Kenny Wheeler

Gnu High

Reissue Released April 28, 2023

“The sound is seductive, there’s plenty of air between instruments, Wheeler’s flugelhorn floats over the other instruments like a high-flying bird, and you hear every nuance of an unusually nimble rhythm section.” — The Absolute Sound

“Jazz rarely gets closer to perfection than it does on Gnu High, and it has never sounded finer than on this Luminessence pressing.”

— All About Jazz

Nana Vasconcelos


Reissue Released April 28, 2023

“This is an auspicious beginning to the re-mastered Luminescence vinyl series. The sound mix is pristine with limited studio effects. The quiet intimacy of the studio is captured effectively (even moments of silence), keeping the focus on the instruments.” — Audiophile Audition

“Saudades is a sonic treat, with the myriad overtones and vivid dynamics of Vasoncelos’ berimbau and percussion instruments, as well as the harmonic richness of the Stuttgart orchestra strings, Vasconcelo’s layered voices, and the room sound.” — The Tracking Angle

Joe Lovano

Our Daily Bread

Released May 5, 2023

“Once again joined by pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi, Lovano doesn’t so much improvise with his bandmates as commune with them, crafting songs that have the atmosphere of a dark room meditation and other times the quiet warmth of a friendly front porch conversation.” — AllMusic

While there is a camp that prefers a more swinging or even an avant version of Lovano, he’s clearly found a rich oasis with this trio and for those who crave this highly pensive sound, Our Daily Bread is the most cohesive of these soothing, rich, ambient Trio Tapestry offerings.”

— Glide Magazine

Jacob Young


Released May 12, 2023

“With sympathetic backing from bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Audun Kleive, both of whom know when to push their boss as much as support him, Young proves himself more than capable of taking on all front-facing responsibilities solo.”

— The Big Takeover

“Jacob Young, a Norwegian guitarist with a consistently assertive melodic touch, often appears surrounded by sonic atmospheres replete with light and leisure.” — Jazz Trail

Elina Duni

A Time To Remember

Released June 16, 2023

“A Time To Remember is a quietly powerful album…” — All About Jazz

The overall feeling with this new recording is that the quartet is more expansive, yet seemingly plays very little. There is a lightness in the sound that embraces the music yet allows it to breathe. — Jazz Views

Nils Økland and Sigbjørn Apeland


Released June 16, 2023

“The repertoire mixes original material from each musicians, including a couple of collaborative pieces, with traditional vocal tunes collected by Apeland, who stick with harmonium on this gorgeous recording. The music is far more contained and polished than the more improvisatory vibe from Summers, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for spontaneity.”

— Nowhere Street

Old And New Dreams

Old And New Dreams

Reissue Released June 23, 2023

“Live, Old and New Dreams was one of the delights of the late ’70s and 80s. This LP is a fine representation of that band’s adventurous sound.”

— The Arts Fuse

“The first thing that needs to be said about Old And New Dreams is that it is a 360-degree, deep strata, Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, solid gold, stone killer and to have it available on audiophile vinyl, with an informative 2000-word sleeve essay by Steve Lake, is good news indeed.” — All About Jazz

Gary Burton

The New Quartet

Reissue Released June 23, 2023

“Another chapter in ECM’s Luminescence vinyl reissue series, this may well have been Gary Burton’s New Quartet in 1973 when it was recorded but how does it stand up fifty years later? The answer is exceptionally well, and this record has not been far from my turntable since it arrived for review.” — Jazz Views

“It is a well-integrated blend of jazz and rock sensibilities—and, once again, it is the material as well as the performances which provides the interest.” — All About Jazz

Maciej Obara Quartet

Frozen Silence

Released September 8, 2023

“Polish alto saxophonist Maciej Obara has been leading this quartet with pianist Dominik Wania, bassist Ole Morten Vågan, and drummer Gard Nilssen for three albums now. Their debut, Unloved, was released in 2017, followed by Three Crowns two years later. On this album, they’ve clearly come together as a unit (Obara and Vågan are also members of Nilssen’s big band, the Supersonic Orchestra) and developed a collective voice.”

— Stereogum

“Obara’s new album has moments of transcendent beauty, showcasing remarkable interplay.” — Jazz Trail

Sinikka Langeland

Wind and Sun

Released September 15, 2023

“With each of her records, Langeland has carved out her own special oeuvre where styles seem to dissolve into boundaryless music that just feels natural and present. Like the two elements in its title, Wind and Sun sounds ephemeral and just a little bit wild.” — AllMusic

“ECM releases tend to share a familiar, in-house sound, but Wind and Sun expands on that, drawing on Langeland’s compelling fusion of local background and cosmopolitan interests.” — The Arts Fuse

Wolfgang Muthspiel

Dance of the Elders

Released September 29, 2023

“What a trio this is, Colley and Blade, who made Angular Blues with [Muthspiel] five years ago, are effortlessly musical. Together they have something of the empathy of the Bill Evans trio, with out-of-body improvisation on the opening “Invocation” and a sweet communicability on the closing “Amelia” (the Joni Mitchell tune, which, let’s remember, is as apocalyptic as it is lovely). If some of it sounds like it might belong in a classical recital hall, and some on a high-tech version of a back porch, that’s all to the good and no sign of creative confusion.” — DownBeat

John Scofield

Uncle John’s Band

Released October 13, 2023

“The band feels tight while playing loose, bringing every track to life with color, energy, and no small amount of skill. Uncle John’s Band is simply a great collection of tunes showcasing what the John Scofield Trio does at its very best.”

— The Big Takeover

“The very open-ended attitude at the heart of this project, in terms of both musicianship and range of material, reaffirms how John Scofield continues to refine the basic precepts of modern jazz.” — Glide Magazine

Keith Jarrett

Solo-Concerts Bremen/Lausanne

Reissue Released October 27, 2023

“Here, in all its 2023 audiophile detail, and cut from the original analogue masters, is the 3xLP set which launched the extraordinary tale of Keith Jarrett’s in-the- moment-improvised, in-concert solo albums. Arguably the most momentous of all the reissues in ECM’s estimable Luminessence series, the Bremen and Lausanne concerts were recorded in March and July 1973 and released as a set in November that year, a synchronous fifty years precisely before this edition.”  All About Jazz

Nitai Hershkovits

Call on the Old Wise

Released November 10, 2023

“The solo piano works its magic and fills the space with lovely, sad, joyous, melancholy and so many more emotions and colors. From one piece to the next, the rhythmic and tonal shifts are never violent. Really, the flow both creates connection and singularity. Each composition is itself but also a part of this whole project.” — Spectrum Culture

“Inspired in part by his piano teacher, he interpolates his classical and jazz training to improvise a series of tunes and set pieces that allow him to spotlight his prodigious chops without ever becoming self-aggrandizing. Rather than start with technique, Hershkovits begins with the melody, even if spontaneously composed.” — The Big Takeover

Palle Mikkelborg/Jakob Bro/Mariyn Mazur


Released November 24, 2023

Strands was recorded live in early 2023, at the Danish Radio Concert Hall, with minimal audience reaction. The resounding acoustics of the venue heighten the superb work of the trio.” — All About Jazz

“Strands is a gorgeous record that makes us wish we’d been there that night.”

— The Big Takeover

The Gurdjieff Ensemble, Levon Eskenian


Released November 24, 2023

“While Gurdjieff’s identity, beliefs and music are elusive, what The Gurdjieff Ensemble have created here is an atmospheric collection of mystical songs, contemplative pieces – the keening duduks of ’Introduction and Funeral March’ are beautiful – and spiritual dances like the Mevlevi-inspired ’Trembling Dervish’. ‘Zartir’culminates in ‘The GreatPrayer’, a solemn finale with choir, supposedly based on a ritual from the Silk road city of Kashgar.” — Songlines

ECM | Release Dates: 2023

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