Art Lande piano
Jan Garbarek flutes, soprano and bass saxophones
Recorded November 19 and 20, 1973 at Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Normally, I eschew from making the kind of comparison I am about to make, but here it goes: What do you get when you take Edvard Grieg, throw in a little jazz, some improvisatory flair, a touch of abstraction, and blend until smooth? Why, the delightful record that is Red Lanta, of course.
While a set of pieces for piano paired with either flute or reed may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, for those who like tea this should do the trick just fine. Constructed around the compositional talents of Art Lande, the music seems to cry for larger arrangements, but still sounds beautiful as it is represented here. The atmosphere is verdant and open, as blearily pastoral as its cover. The playing is top-notch throughout, though the tracks featuring Garbarek’s flute playing stand out for me, especially “Waltz for A” and, of course, the eclectically beautiful 11-minute “Awakening, Midweek.” The combination is superb and perfectly embodies ECM’s penchant for recording jazz with a chamber music sensibility. A piano-only medley in the second half serves as a nice breather from the intense reed work before plunging us into the galactic final act.
This is diurnal music of the highest order and is suitable both for deep listening and as the soundtrack for any leisurely activity. Garbarek is all a-glitter in as coaxing a performance as I have ever heard from him. Certainly not one to be missed if “mellow” is your preferred mode of operation.