I’m recently watched the documentary Sound and Silence about Manfred Eicher, the founder of the legendary ECM Records. (short for Editions of Contemporary Music) Eicher founded ECM to make records that fit his singular vision, and over the last forty years he has made many, many remarkable records, by heroes of mine like Keith Jarrett, Egberto Gismonti, Michael Cain and Avo Part. ECM records, regardless of genre, have a distinct, almost crystalline sound, one that only comes with tremendous care and devotion. Manfred is (deservedly) not without his critics, but I am in awe of his commitment to capturing and sharing beauty on tape.
I use the word beauty deliberately. I know in my life, beauty often feels like it’s in short supply Which is ironic, because I’m someone who from the time I was 12 was (and am) buying records several times a month because they are beautiful! Let me rephrase- it’s not that beauty isn’t there, it’s that we have to slow down, and look and listen, and COMMIT, to seeing it.
I love that Ana Forrest, a teacher I love dearly, calls her e-mail and Facebook missives Beauty Reports, and asks her teachers to do the same.
Here’s my latest beauty report- a playlist I made for Sunday’s class, inspired by (but certainly not limited to) spirituals in the African-American church tradition, which were on my mind last week. I hope you’ll check them out, or if they don’t work, find your own entrance point to the beauty nearby.
Miracle Mile 5:49 James Carney Offset Rhapsody
Om Namah Shivaya 10:36 Heather and Benjy Wertheimer Sri
Everytime 3:20 Bobby McFerrin & Esperanza Spalding Spirityouall
One Hoop 4:33 John de Kadt One Hoop – Single World
Journey Home 9:07 Maria Schneider Allegresse
Right Here, Right Now 5:57 Cassandra Wilson Traveling Miles
Great Is Thy Faithfulness 8:18 Miguel Zenon Ceremonial
Traveler’s Blessing 4:29 Becca Stevens Weightless
Unconditional 4:05 Ron Miles Stone
Graceland 5:49 Allison Krauss and Jerry Douglas (that one is here) man, beauty.
Ode 6:21 Brad Mehldau Trio Ode
Lift Every Voice and Sing 8:16 Orrin Evans Live In Jackson, Mississippi “White Boy You Don’t Know Nothin’ Bout No Barbeque”
Last Train Home 4:35 Pat Metheny One Quiet Night
One Day I’ll Fly Away 4:19 Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden Jasmine (ECM)
Red Rock Rain 4:56 Michael Cain Circa (ECM)