Art Lande / Jan Garbarek: Red Lanta

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Recorded some 10 days or so before the Garbarek/Stenson Quartet’s Witchi-Tai-To, this crystal-clear duo set is both an attractive album in itself and a key document of the shift in Garbarek’s work from the free-fired energy of the early ECM albums Afric Pepperbird, Sart and Triptykon to the more consonant and melodic albums of later years.

American pianist Lande supplied all the compositions, although as Garbarek remarked to him at the time, the concluding and plaintive meditation that is the lovely Cherifen Dream Of Renate brings Swedish folk song strongly to mind.

While there is plenty of assertive, even mesmeric, rhythm in the pumping ostinato bass saxophone and searing soprano repeated figures of the latter stages of the somewhat minimalist-like Verdulac, the overall approach is one of spacious voicings and gently moving, at times chromatically inflected impressionist reflection, tinged at times with melancholy: hear Awakening – Midweek.

Garbarek’s (classical) flutes and soprano essay a poetic exactitude of linear and dynamic finesse, perfect complement to the elegance of Lande’s clean-sprung and often rhythmically intriguing figures.

While the pianist (who would go on to record the memorable Rubisa Patrol in 1977, with Mark Isham, Bill Douglass and Glenn Cronkhite) is certainly his own man, the spirit of Chick Corea’s Piano Improvisations, recorded for ECM in April 1971, is occasionally in the air – reminding one that there was a time when it was rumoured that Garbarek might join Corea’s Return To Forever.

Discography
Quintennaissance; Velvet; Waltz For A; Awakening–Midweek; Verdulac; Miss Fortune; Medley: Open Return – Cancion Del Momento; Meanwhile; Cherifen Dream Of Renate (50.48)
Lande (p); Garbarek (f, ss, bss). Oslo November 1973.
ECM 674 3047