Bill Connors: Of Mist And Melting (ECM 1120)

1120 X

Bill Connors
Of Mist And Melting

Bill Connors guitar
Jan Garbarek saxophones
Gary Peacock bass
Jack DeJohnette drums
Recorded December 1977, Talent Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Three years after his astonishing acoustic turn on Theme To The Gaurdian and fresh from Jan Garbarek’s Places session, guitarist Bill Connors returned as leader for this moody quartet, for which one could hardly dream up a better roster: Garbarek (saxophones), Gary Peacock (bass), and Jack DeJohnette (drums) fill out the spectrum of this sound palette with the best of them. The synergy for which the latter two musicians have come to be so highly regarded is already plain to see here and spins the free and easy flow that characterizes the album’s ethos from beginning to end. While one might expect an electric guitar at anchor, Connors maintains his wireless interests with no loss of potency. One “side effect,” if you will, of this configuration is that the backing generally keeps its volume low and fades to near silence in order to give Connors ample soloing room. Garbarek’s chops are kept in check, for instance, in the opening cut, given only a single cosmic needle through which to thread their potentially overpowering strains. Similarly attractive negotiations abound in the heartrending tenor of “Not Forgetting,” in the lullaby effect of “Face In The Water.” Garbarek reignites in “Aubade” as if he were embodying the wavering reflections of a pool of fire. Where much of the album is diffuse and liquid, the groove of “Café Vue” is undeniably solid and allows for some engaging breaches of calm before being restored in “Unending.”

While perhaps less specific than Connors’s ECM debut, Of Mist And Melting is a worthy successor. It holds on to that same sense of freedom while charting an ethereal sound that could only come from those gathered.

<< Gary Peacock: December Poems (ECM 1119)
>> Ralph Towner: Batik (ECM 1121)

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