Manfred Eicher And ECM's amazing recordings

And ECM, and I believe Eichner personally, was instrumental in bringing Argo Pärt’s music to prominence in to the West. 35 years ago he put out the Tabula Rasa album, a minimalist violin in concerto, which was a labour of love, nobody could have predicted its massive success, it was just a man publishing music he thought should be heard.


Sorry to say but i think a lot of ECM albums are insipid, with no real creativity. It sounds nice but hollow.
But there are also wonderful albums, like Metheny, Carla Bley, Abercrombie, Dejohnette, Frisell, Surman, Eberhardt Weber or Dave Holland. I have a lot . However the catalog is very very huge.

1 Like

Yes - there are several I’ve heard that are not for me.
e.g. last night I listened to Into the Silence by Avishai Cohen, and didn’t enjoy it.
But the sound of the instruments was very present and realistic.

It would be too much to ask to love all of a label’s output.

Even if I find a few LPs that really resonate for me and which I can enjoy for years, that’s very welcome.

And on ECM I’ve already found several and have not yet heard 10% of their stuff.

1 Like


I noticed in the wiki article mentioned above that Eicher is quite popular with Downbeat mag:


  • 1976 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 1986 German Record Critics Award
  • 1998 Music Prize of the City of Munich
  • 1999 Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star from the King of Sweden
  • 1999 V Class Order of the Cross of St. Mary’s Land from the President of Estonia
  • 2000 Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Brighton
  • 2001 Commander of the Royal Order of Merit from the King of Norway
  • 2002 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Classical, nominated in the same category in 2003, 2004, and 2018
  • 2007 Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany)
  • 2008 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 2009 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 2010 Down Beat : Lifetime Achievement Award and Producer of the Year
  • 2012 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 2013 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 2014 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 2015 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 2016 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 2017 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
  • 2018 Down Beat : Producer of the Year
1 Like

I also noticed that the most southerly place that has honoured Eicher in that list is Germany.

So I think we are safe to say that his aesthetic is distinctly northern.

1 Like

I love ECM albums, and have about 300 if you include the New Series. They are very different, some are immediately accessible and others require more listening and the right mood. Those that require more effort are often ultimately the most rewarding.


Nice article on same in Stereophile.

There is plenty on the label that is not north European/Nordic. They definitely operate outside that zone.

Korea is a market where they are becoming increasingly popular and there have been some Korean Ecm releases. They have just announced a 50th anniversary exhibition in Korea.

I guess I like Ecm as I own everything the label has released on Ecm, new series and other sister labels. It’s been a fun journey chasing it down and listening to it.

Manfred is an amazing man with a superb vision. I have been fortunate to meet him several times recently and talk with him - a legend.


Evening Adrian! Good to see you over here at last!

1 Like

Thanks Kevin - yes been quiet for a few years here :slight_smile:


How many people do you think own and have listened to all of that lot?

I wondered whether this thread would lure you in. It’s good to see you here.

1 Like

Well, I’m very pleased to have found a large new seam of excellent music to mine…


Yes, along with Mike, I highly recommend the interview with Eicher in the latest Stereophile, conducted by the multi-talented Fred Kaplan. Fred writes excellent jazz reviews in Stereophile and elsewhere, and is also a political commentator, with emphasis on defense matters, on Slate. His book “1959–The Year Everything Changed” is musical/cultural history, with a jazz emphasis.


That sounds good - will check it out.

Can see this interview, but not the current one:

Jim - I know a few people that own large parts of the collection but not many. It’s very niche in many ways. Enjoy your ECM journey.

HH - thanks - just a passing visit. Will I see you next week at Mathias?

Regrettably not - we have a friends’ party that night. I’m sure it will be excellent.

Thanks Lontano.
Can you point to a few highlights of your collection?

Without me typing out hundreds of album titles, here are some of my favourite albums…

Any of the Jakob Bro albums - all fab
Tord Trio Albums
Trygve Seim - Helsinki Songs
Florian Weber - Lucent Waters
Mathias Eick - all albums
Nicolas Masson - Travellers
Anouar Brahem - Blue Maqams and his other albums
Rainer Bruninghaus - Freighweite
Keith Jarrett - Sun Bear Concerts - it’s a marathon listen
Ralph Towner - Solstice
Arild Andersen - If You Look Far Enough and many of his other albums
Kenny Wheeler - W|dow in the Window
Peter Erskine - Time Being
Dave Holland - Extensions
Jan Garbarek - Rites
Jan Garbarek _ I Took Up the Runes
Keith Jarrett Trio - any of them
Keith Jarrett - Personal Mountains, My Song, Belonging
Gary Peacock - tales of Another
Haden/Garbarek/Gismonti - Folk Songs, Magico
Most of the Eberhard weber albums
Arvo Part - Fratres, Musica Selecta
Terje Rydal - Waves, Descendre, If Mountains Could sing

So much I have left out for now…