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1969 – 2019




ECM50 Anniversary Weekend | 21-24 November | Flagey, Brussels





“One of the defining sound-worlds of the past half-century of recorded music is the distinguished repertory of ECM Records, which was founded by the musician and producer Manfred Eicher in 1969.” - Richard Brody, The New Yorker, November 2017


21 NOVEMBER 2019 (TORONTO, ON) - This November marks 50 years in the work of ECM. Five decades of continuous independent music production. Under the leadership of Manfred Eicher, the label has changed the contemporary soundscape, with an extensive body of work addressing a wide range of musical idioms.


In recognition of the work of ECM, numerous tribute concerts have been held around the world in 2019, a tendency continuing throughout the current season:


Celebrations in ECM’s anniversary year began in the US with more than 20 concerts by ECM artists integrated into the sprawling Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tennessee and with a label focus at Winter JazzFest in New York. Tributes continued with a weekend salute – including classical and jazz concerts – at La Fenice in Venice and four nights at Oslo’s Victoria Nasjonal Jazz Scene.


The past couple of months have seen many ECM dedicated events including an exhibition in Seoul, an ECM Week at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, two evenings at New York’s Rose Theater hosted by Jazz at Lincoln Center and ECM nights five concerts at Montreal’s International Jazz Festival, and at the London Jazz Festival and Festival Jazz Milan.


The extended ECM Anniversary Weekend at Flagey will feature a host of artists including Anouar Brahem, Anja Lechner, Larry Grenadier, Elina Duni, Nik Bärtsch, Julia Hülsmann, Avishai Cohen and Yonathan Avishai, plus a talk with Manfred Eicher. In the days following, there will be a celebration in Poland with the ECM Warsaw Festival from 25-27 November. On 3-5 February 2020, “Reflektor Manfred Eicher” will be a four-day homage at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie in Germany to mark ECM50.


ECM’s new releases in the anniversary year include recordings of Keith Jarrett, Joe Lovano, Dominic Miller, Vijay Iyer/Craig Taborn, Louis Sclavis, Avishai Cohen/Yonathan Avishai, Paul Bley, Julia Hülsmann, Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan, Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia, Maria Farantouri and many more.


Highlights in ECM’s New Series include new albums of Eleni Karaindrou, András Schiff, Heinz Holliger/György Kurtág, Anna Gourari, Jan Garbarek/The Hilliard Ensemble, Thomas Zehetmair and others.


In addition to an expanded edition of Mal Waldron’s Free At Last from 1969, with previously unreleased takes, photos from the record session, and additional liner notes, ECM’s vinyl programme expanded with the addition of six classic albums, making their first appearance in audiophile LP format: Jan Garbarek In Praise of Dreams with Kim Kashkashian and Manu Katché, Nils Petter Molvaer Khmer; Charles Lloyd Voice In The Night with John Abercrombie, Dave Holland and Billy Higgins; Anouar Brahem Le pas du chat noir; and Manu Katché Neighbourhood with Jan Garbarek, Tomasz Stanko, Marcin Wasilewski and Slawomir Kurkiewicz.


Finally, a further 40 out of print recordings from ECM and sister label Japo were introduced this summer to the streaming services, via Universal Music Group. This completes the entire catalogue of ECM in the digital domain – a tremendous resource for accessing the whole ECM catalogue.


As the label enters a new decade, it continues its activities with characteristically far-reaching programmes, in jazz and improvised music and in its New Series.


“Thanks to its insistence on clarity of expression — as well as clarity of sound — the German label ECM Records has, since 1969, helped shape the way we listen to jazz and contemporary classical music.”

Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, September 2019