The first ECM title I bought was either Marion Brown’s Afternoon Of a Georgia Faun or Corea/Holland/Altschul’s A.R.C. Can’t really remember. But I do remember once having to put Bobo Stentson’s Underwear back in the racks because I didn’t have enough money. Maybe because I was getting that Bailey/Holland duet album. Favorite early titles through the decades are many, but definitely Facing You, The Colours of Chloë, Conference of the Birds, Illusion Suite, Bremen/Lausanne, Conception Vessel, The Jewel in the Lotus, Eon, Gnu High, Silent Feet, and Emerald Tears were big in Macnieville. I recall David Breskin pointing to Jarrett’s Sun Bear box and saying “I’ll take it” when I was working in a Providence record store. Same place same time: when Carla Bley’s Watt titles got an ECM ride. Did that start with Social Studies? Another biggie for me. Things took off when Manfred tapped the outcats for Nice Guys and Divine Love and Special Edition and Contrasts and Bitter Funeral Beer. Here’s a thank you to him for bringing the world Meredith Monk. The first album I reviewed for Musician mag was Frisell’s Rambler. I just found my Boston Globe review of The Third Decade in the basement last summer. And these days keeping in touch with Edition of Contemporary Music has led lots of listeners back to New York with Snakeoil and Larry Grenadier and Billy Hart and Andrew Cyrille and Mike Formanek and Chris Potter and Aaron Parks. Miles to go, I bet. Here are 50 pieces I always return to.
(put the spotify crossfade on 10 seconds for this list)
And RIP to Jan Erik Kongshaug, master engineer and co-architect of ECM’s sonic personality.