Search - Ralph Towner :: Solstice

Ralph Towner
Genres: Folk, Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

Few jazz record companies have achieved so distinctive a sound and characteristic a style as the German label ECM. This 1974 recording by acoustic guitarist Ralph Towner is a classic of the label's early period. Adept at b...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Ralph Towner
Title: Solstice
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: ECM Records
Release Date: 3/7/2000
Genres: Folk, Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 042282545824

Few jazz record companies have achieved so distinctive a sound and characteristic a style as the German label ECM. This 1974 recording by acoustic guitarist Ralph Towner is a classic of the label's early period. Adept at blending jazz with folk and classical elements, Towner is joined here by drummer Jon Christensen and two of the label's essential voices, the sweetly muscular saxophone sound of Jan Garbarek and the springy bass virtuosity of Eberhard Weber. The quartet has both orchestral breadth and varied textures, each enhanced by some discreet overdubbing and fairly extensive doubling--Weber adding electric bass leads and background cello, Towner adding some piano to his classical and 12-string guitars, and Garbarek playing soprano and overdubbing two flutes on "Nimbus." The modal and atmospheric improvisations contribute to the feeling of spaciousness, and the sumptuously beautiful sound seems to embrace the instruments. --Stuart Broomer

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CD Reviews

kibblenibbler | CT | 09/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"almost but not quite entirely like Brian Eno and John Fahey meeting up with Keith Jarrett's American Quartet and playing something almost but not quite entirely like Miles Davis's Get Up With It or Weather Report's Sweetnighter. that, and Jan Garbarek in his prime is along for the ride. atmospheric, yet stimulating. not quite five stars, but pretty close (by the way, dear amazon folks, the cover art that you have featured here, as of 9/14/08, is incorrect. please rectify)..."
Truly Definitive ECM!
Thomas Gabuzda | Montco PA, usa | 02/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Other reviewers have this exactly right: here is a thing of just stunning conception and beauty, one of the best in the whole ECM library. The whole of "Solstice" is so coherent and of-one-mind from beginning to end. Every track is very good to great, ending with "Sand"... a track you can listen to 4 times in a row and still be in awe of. The ensemble of Weber, Christensen, Garbarek and Towner is a sympathetic thing of beauty. As an aside, a neglected but brilliant Ralph Towner release is "5 Years Later", the sequel to Sargasso Sea (and likewise a duo with J. Abercrombie). However it may not exist on CD. Another aside, "Solstice" was poorly recorded in its initial vinyl release (relative to ECM standards), and to my relief the CD is just fine."
James K. Stewart | Louisville, Ky USA | 03/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of the most beautiful, intense, mind-blowing, and brilliant recordings
I've ever heard. Like the first reviewer of this (who listed it as Pat
Metheny's favorite), I too saw Towner and John Abercrombie in concert
when they were on tour (in Lexington, Ky), after they had recorded their
gorgeous "Sargasso Sea" duet guitar album on ECM. It was a sold-out show
and a mesmerized audience, much like the show he saw. "Solstice" totally
blew me away the first time I heard it. Never had I heard such incredible
beauty and INTENSITY off of cold vinyl. These were the days when I became
a totally addicted ECM vinyl freak; I could not buy these things fast
enough, and "Solstice" quickly became one of my most played items. These
guys are so brilliant, they're SCARY. Of course, I have the cd now and
am still blown away each time I hear it. Eberhard Weber and Jan Garbarek
are just amazing on this as well. It is absolute perfection and genius.
What is so startling about it is that even though I've heard this thing
hundreds of times (both vinyl and cd), it STILL sounds just as exciting,
fresh, and new as the first time I heard it, and I even hear things I
realize I hadn't heard before. Just magnificent. One previous reviewer
stated that the track "Visitation" is one of the spookiest things ever
recorded on ECM. I agree. as it ALWAYS reminds me of an alien UFO ship
landing on earth. To me, a truly SCARY ECM recording is the track called
"Excursion" from Bennie Maupin's mind-bending "Jewel in the Lotus" album,
recently issued on cd for the first time (ECM). Listen to it with all the
lights out. Wooooo! 100 million stars for "Solstice", and another 500
million for the fantastic ECM label, and its founder/producer Manfred