FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19
PONCHO CONCERT HALL, CORNISH COLLEGE, 8PM
Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin
Tour support by Pro Helvetia & Town of Zurich
$16 general/$14 Earshot members & seniors/$8 students, Cornish alums
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Swiss ECM pianist Nik Bärtsch leads his polished ensemble in complex explorations of tone and rhythm: progressive jazz at its most engaging, with Kaspar Rast (drums), Thomy Jordi (bass) and Sha (bass clarinet, alto saxophone).
Three of Ronin’s ECM albums – Stoa (2005), Holon (2007) and Llyrìa (2010) – have been recorded in the studio. Now, following extensive touring, Nik Bärtsch and ECM producer Manfred Eicher took live recordings of the band for a new double CD, Live. The release perfectly showcases the band’s hypnotic and dynamic performances from three years of touring European festivals and clubs.
With Ronin, each gig is a unique event with its own intentionality and sustained, insistent power. Composer-pianist Bärtsch likens the linked-mind interplay inside his unique group to a school of fish moving across a coral reef with lightning speed. From one acoustic space to another, this disciplined ECM quartet brings a focused playing, with hypnotically layered rhythms and certain parameters open to interpretation and improvisation.
“As the band’s composer, I precisely set down most of the pieces in notation, but in performance it becomes at some point impossible to tell what is composed, interpreted or improvised. The band has to discover the right tension and the suitable dramatic structure for a piece on the spur of the moment. The band-organism thus outwits not only the composition, but itself.”
Bärtsch acknowledges that the group fits no preconceived format: “Our music is somewhere between jazz and modern composition, progressive pop, ritual music, groove music in general.”
It somewhat takes its form from a minimalist aesthetic and gradual process.
– SH; courtesy ECM