Show #219: Three Superb New ECM Releases

Written by

ECM Records recently released three albums that I find remarkable, and we feature them on today’s show. This independent German label, founded in the late 1960’s, consistently sets the benchmark in CD production standards, with stunning recorded sound and quality design and packaging.

We’ll first sample saxophonist Chris Potter’s CD The Dreamer is the Dream, which I extolled in an earlier post. The album features an amazing interplay between the Cuban pianist, David Vireilles, the rock solid perfect upright bass of Joe Martin, and Marcus Gilmore on drums and percussion. The group shares a musical telepathy that you can hear on every track. It’s an album that you can listen to over and over again. I feature a cut called “Ilimba,” which probably refers to the kalimba, or African thumb piano, that introduces the track.


We move next to a trio album called Find the Way with pianist Aaron Parks as leader, bassist Ben Street, and veteran drummer Billy Hart, whose drum poetry has graced many recordings over the past three plus decades. We listen to two tracks—“Song for Sashou” and “The Storyteller.” I love the synergy between the three musicians. This lyrical album flows smoothly from beginning to end, and is another one that I find myself listening to on repeat.

The third album, called Daylight Ghosts, comes from pianist Craig Taborn. I was reminded of this album because of a recent profile of Taborn in the New York Times Magazine. This adventurous release is not easy listening—quite the contrary, actually—with Taborn’s elliptical style, stabbing chords à la Cecil Taylor, and constant musical scene changes. The intense and unpredictable music challenges the listener at every turn. It’s percussive, edgy, and jagged. So, caveat audiens—let the listener beware. Note that drummer Dave King on the album is famous for his work with the group The Bad Plus.

Banner image: Aaron Parks trio from left to right—Billy Hart, Aaron Parks, Ben Street. Photo © Bart  Babinski / ECM Records

Rhythm Planet Playlist for 7/14/17

1. Chris Potter / “Ilimba” / The Dreamer Is The Dream / ECM
2. Aaron Parks / “Song for Sashou” / Find the Way / ECM
3. Aaron Parks / “The Storyteller” / Find the Way / ECM
4. Craig Taborn / “Abandoned Reminder” / Daylight Ghosts / ECM