on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2019 23 Jun

Milestones: „Hubris“ (1977) & „Elm“ (1979)

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Als der Pianist Richard Beirach im Juni 1977 im Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg die erste Soloplatte seines Lebens aufnahm, betrat er bereits historisch wertvolles Terrain. Angetrieben von den visionären Ideen des Produzenten Manfred Eicher hatte das Label ECM seit Beginn jenes Jahrzehnts rasch seinen Ruf gefestigt, die Jazzlandschaft musikalisch radikal zu erweitern. Das Kölner Konzert von Keith Jarrett war eine künstlerische wie kommerzielle Sensation und sicherte jedem jungen ECM-Künstler unmittelbare Aufmerksamkeit. Die Produktionstage der Soloaufnahme „Hubris“ und der Einspielung „Elm“, einem Trio mit dem Bassisten George Mraz und Schlagzeuger Jack DeJohnette, wurden für Richard Beirach einschneidende Lebenserfahrungen – musikalisch wie privat.




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  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Ich habe Beirach und Liebman zum ersten Mal zusammen wahrgenommen, auf LOOKOUT FARM, 1973. Dann auf DRUM ODE. Und immer noch in den Siebzigern, auf FORGOTTEN FANTASIES, als Duo.

    Manche Freundschaften halten ewig. Jetzt haben sie, wieder als reines Duo, die Stoffe Klassischer Musiker mit improvisatorischem Elan bearbeitet, auf der Doppel-CD ETERNAL VOICES.

    „The release of Eternal Voices celebrates the 50th year anniversary of Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach meeting, playing, and recording music together. It has been an amazing run, and happily, it is still ongoing, stronger than ever. This Eternal Voices recording is very special even for both musicians. They chose to use short but very powerful masterpieces of classical music from Bach to Schoenberg as a format for improvisations. Both have played these kinds of music before but this is the first time that Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach concentrated on a complete repertoire of these great compositions by the masters. Personnel: Dave Liebman – soprano sax, tenor sax, C-flute; Richie Beirach – piano. Also features compositions by W. A. Mozart, L. v. Beethoven, G. Faure, F. Mompou, A. Khatchaturian, A. Scriabin, and B. Bartok. Comes in a six-panel digipak; includes additional booklet.“

  2. Brian Whistler:

    Two of my favorite Beirach albums. I consider Elm to be in that rarified best trio albums of all time, right next to Chick Corea’s Now He Sings, Now He sobs, and Evans Vanguard recordings. Yes, it is that good. I also have an seared vinyl copy of Forgotten Fantasies, waiting for the day I finally digitize it the first time I play it. I will look for Eternal Voices.

  3. Brian Whistler:

    That’s sealed vinyl,. But I like “seared” better!

  4. Martina Weber::

    Was für ein grandioses fake fade out in „Sea Priestess“.

  5. Brian Whistler:

    Yes, I love the fake fadeout. The power and the glory when they come back in.

    Even though Richard Beirach doesn’t know it, I have a special connection to Richie. He has probably influenced me more as a pianist than perhaps anyone else. One night, after a house concert in Sebastopol CA, he invited me into his “dressing room” and we talked for around 1/2 hour. We shared stories about growing up in NYC and going to the clubs etc. Of course, he is a bit older than me, and had had experiences that just weren’t available to me.

    We got to talking about other pianists – somehow we got onto the subject of Michel Petrucciani. I told him I had spent an evening hanging out with Michel and some other interesting people (including the late Mel Martin) at a private home. Michel was a fierce coke freak back then and we were at a mutual friend’s house, a bassist who was a total coke fiend. The evening was very intense. A lot of great stories. Michel was a kind of nihilist- he had glass bones disease and he told me he didn’t expect to live past the age of 30 (I think he was around 24 at the time- this was when he was still playing with Charles Lloyd.) That’s another story really…

    Richie said he knew Michel and had hung with him. He told me Michel, being so small, liked to walk around at social events and look up women’s dresses. It used to bug Richie and one day he said, “Michel, if you don’t stop that shit I’m going to take you by the head and roll you across the floor like a bowling ball!” He also recommended a Michel duo album with Ron McClure called Cold Blues. I got it and its a very good one.

  6. Martin Waldner:

    Absolut fesselnde Dreiviertelstunde.

    Auf Discogs gleich zugeschlagen, und die beiden Schallplatten bestellt!

  7. Rosato:

    fake fade out? – not in *Sea Priestess* !
    I listened to *Snow Leopard*


    it’s right of course: there’s a fake fade out in *Sea Priestess*. But this piece wasn’t part of the broadcast.
    There’s a similar event in *Snow Leopard*. After about 4:30 minutes the tune seems to be over. But after very few seconds DeJohnette starts the adventurous finale. Richie Beirach describes precisely what happened musically. Just look for Ingo’s interview.

  8. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Martina had been listening to SEA PRISTESS somewhere else, Rosato, and of course Jack DeJohnette did this marvellous vanishing and re-appearing of the music.

    Sometimes it makes sense to speak about a track without playing it.

    Btw, I promised Richard Beirach a copy, we will arrange that, won‘t we? Easy-peasy.

    The engineer in the studio where we put the music into the digital system, has been deeply impressed by the music. He did a great job, and i gave him my HUBRIS copy. I stick to my vinyl😉

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