re: ecm

Björn Meyer — Provenance (ECM)

Question for the floor: is the bassist the most selfless of all musicians in a group or band? The image of the bassist is of the quiet person at the back, keeping the collective together with metronomic precision rather than flash showiness. Sure, you have your singer-bassists like Jack Bruce or Melissa Auf der Maur and a few rock bassist who like a good solo, whether it’s a wise decision or not, but more often than perhaps is deserved, the bass, even in jazz (with notable exceptions like Scott LaFaro), keeps to the background and the shadows. Which, if Provenance by Swedish bassist Björn Meyer is anything to go by, could be a missed opportunity. Here, using his remarkable talent and either acoustic or electric bass, Meyer reveals the depths of his instrument of choice’s sensitive range.

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John Abercrombie quartet - Cascais Jazz 1980

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Dominic Miller – Water (from the album Silent Light)

One day in 1961 an 18-year-old German music student named Manfred Eicher descended the steps of the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village to hear the pianist Bill Evans, the bassist Scott LaFaro and the drummer Paul Motian. Breaking away from the conventions, they were pursuing an ideal of improvisation as a continuous three-way conversation. Inspired by what he heard, Eicher would go on to found the ECM label, dedicated to jazz as chamber music.