First four ECM releases of 2018

Here’s a look at the first four new releases of 2018 by ECM. All four following albums will be released on January 19.

BOBO STENSON TRIO – Contra la incecisión

The first new recording by the Swedish trio of pianist Bobo Stenson in six years. The album draws upon a wide range of source materials. The band features double bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Jon Fält. As stated in an official press release: “So strong is the group’s character and the musical identity of each of its members that the integration of this material always feels organic and logical.”

JOHN SURMAN – Invisible Threads

While John Surman’s music is always defined by English elements in both improvisation and composition, he is known to often broaden his musical horizons by working with musicians from other countries and cultures. In his new album, Invisible Threads, we find the saxophonist and clarinetist collaborating with Brazilian pianist Nelson Ayres and the American-Norwegian musician Rob Waring on vibraphone and marimba.


Norwegian drummer and composer Thomas Strønen presents a revised edition of his acoustic collective Time Is a Blind Guide, now trimmed to a quintet size and with a new pianist, Ayumi Tanaka. On Lucus, Strønen seems to be encouraging with his space-conscious writing for the ensemble, letting in more light, while Manfred Eicher’s production brings out all the fine detail in the grain of the collective and halo of its overtones, captured in Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano, Switzerland, on March 2017.

KIT DOWNES – Obsidian

Organist Kit Downes’ new album may have little to do with jazz but showcases all his skills as an improviser of subtle sensibilities. Obsidian finds him exploring the sonic possibilities and idiosyncrasies of the church organ in improvisations both melodic and textural. It was recorded in three different English churches and finds Downes alone for most of the album except on one piece, “Modern Gods,” on which he is joined by frequent improvising partner, tenor saxophonist Tom Challenger.

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