Tuesday, March 24, 2015
ECM and SFJAZZ
In harmony with their musical signature, ECM is notable for their evocative cover art and design that features stunning (and often abstract) photography along with elegant, minimal typography. This distinctive visual identity has influenced countless designers and artists, and has been documented in a pair of sought-after compilation books, Sleeves of Desire: A Cover Story, and Windfall Light: The Visual Language of ECM.
SFJAZZ has a long, established relationship with the label, presenting most of its major artists at various times over the years. A series devoted to ECM during the 2010 SFJAZZ Spring Season included a half-dozen performances as well as a screening of the documentary film Sounds and Silence: Travels with Manfred Eicher.
Saxophonist Chris Potter brings the West Coast premiere of his Underground Orchestra, featuring an extended ensemble consisting of a jazz septet augmented with strings that DownBeat reviewer James Hale called “a triumphant integration of diverse elements that alternately soars and dances.” Their phenomenal new album, Imaginary Cities, was recently released.
Vijay Iyer stands as one of the jazz world’s most acclaimed young stars, racking up multiple DownBeat Critics Poll wins and a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” After making his ECM debut with 2014’s Mutations, the pianist and composer released Break Stuff with his telepathic trio of Stephan Crump on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums.
Egberto Gismonti presents a solo evening that will ably demonstrate his mastery of traditional folkloric styles, improvisation and facility on multiple instruments.
Finally, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko performs with his virtuosic New York Quartet with pianist David Virelles, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, the band featured on Stanko’s latest, the double album Wisława – a release inspired by the late Nobel-winning poet Wisława Szymborska.
With an unmistakable visual stamp and music that often defies easy description, the ECM label has created an entire musical world of its own.