Jazz 100
The ECM Sound
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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Serenity
Bobo Stenson Trio
2000 [ECM]


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Hailed as a masterpiece by critics, Serenity is both the culmination of Bobo Stenson's artistic development and the maturation of the 'ECM Sound'. On this double-CD set the Swedish pianist makes full use of space and melodic harmony, while still maintaining a sense of creative improvisation. The critical praise for the record is well deserved.





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Hyperion With Higgins
Charles Lloyd
2001 [ECM]


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As the 'ECM Sound' evolved, veteran saxophonist Charles Lloyd went along for the ride with his Euro-stable mates as the style progressively matured. This album is a tribute to drummer Billy Higgins who died not long after the tracks were laid down. It has plenty of Lloyd's trademark inventiveness, nicely mixed in with ECM's spatial sparsity.





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Changing Places
Tord Gustavsen Trio
2003 [ECM]


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For his first release on ECM, Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen rarely strays from the formula sonic-soundscape listening experience commonly associated with the label. It's all very pleasing and while there is little doubt that Gustavsen is one of the most talented pianists in jazz, one wonders what he might unleash when fully unconstrained.





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In Praise of Dreams
Jan Garbarek
2004 [ECM]


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This Grammy-nominated set of originals from Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek finds him playing with more constraint and grace than ever before. Violist Kim Kashkashian and drummer Manu Katché are the perfect fit for the compositions, which frequently hark back to European folk tradition while maintaining a contemporary feel.





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The Time
Mozdzer, Danielsson & Fresco
2005 [Outside Music]


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On their first effort, the multi-national teaming of Leszek Mozdzer (Poland), Lars Danielsson (Sweden) and Zohar Fresco (Israel) manages to out-ECM ECM. Highly-talented pianist Mozdzer is the most noted of the trio, rising to fame with delicate 'Impressions on Chopin' (1999). Here he splits compositional duties with Danielsson about 50-50.





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Lontano
Tomasz Stanko Quartet
2006 [ECM]


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Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is joined by Marcin Wasilewski (piano), Slawomir Kurkiewicz (bass), and Michal Miskiewicz (drums) for this beautiful set that demonstrates the quartet's experience together in terms of a growing confidence to improvise. The record is a sparse soundscape sophisticated elegance and refined intimacy.





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Being There
Tord Gustavsen Trio
2007 [ECM]


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Emerging amongst the best of contemporary jazz pianists, Norwegian Tord Gustavsen tops his previous ECM releases with this introspective effort. His trio partners - bassist Harald Johnsen and drummer Jarle Vespestad - continue to grow and mature as they acquire a more intuitive approach to Gustavsen's restrained, but elegant style.





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January
Marcin Wasilewski Trio
2008 [ECM]


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Although Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski gets top billing, this is truly a trio effort. Bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz have been playing with Wasilewski since they were all in their teens. In the process, the rhythm section has become a sought-after studio duo. A typically refined and elegant ECM release.


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