ECM stays true to founder’s taste while changing with the times

Posted on: July 21, 2010

In Saturday’s (7/17) Guardian (London), Richard Williams writes, “On his desk lie a John Cheever novel and the collected poems of Wallace Stevens. A photograph of his friend Jean-Luc Godard is attached to the pinboard on the wall, close to a calendar on which are scrawled details of the schedule that will see Manfred Eicher produce about three dozen albums this year, by musicians and composers such as Keith Jarrett, Arvo Part, Jan Garbarek, Anouar Brahem and Gidon Kremer. The founder and presiding spirit of ECM Records is not a typical music industry executive, which is perhaps why Eicher has managed to survive the virtual disintegration of the industry he entered 40 years ago. To its many admirers, ECM stands for a certain meditative, introspective approach to playing and listening. … Whereas most record labels respond to success by diversifying and becoming less like themselves, the opposite seems to have happened at ECM. Although his jazz recordings sometimes now feature laptops and samplers, and his New Series documents the notated music of such contemporary composers as Erkki-Sven Tuur, Betty Olivera, Valentin Silvestrov and Giya Kancheli alongside that of Bach, Tallis and Beethoven, somehow the guiding principle—in this case, the founder’s taste—seems ever more discernible.”

Posted July 21, 2010