Friday, November 07, 2008

Various Artists - Rarum Box Set 2: Selected Recordings IX - XX (ECM, 2007)

A few years ago, the German jazz and classical music label ECM began asking some of its most prolific and popular musicians to put together collections of single or double disc samplers of music they had recorded for the label either as a leader or a sideman. Far from traditional "best of" or "greatest hits" collections, these were often quirky and surprising, much like the musicians themselves. These discs often made for good entry points for listeners who were curious about these musicians, but unsure where to start exploring their catalogs. ECM has upped the ante even further here by making 12 of these discs available as either a traditional CD boxed set, or a digital download (for an absurdly low price.) It makes for a fascinating listen, especially on random shuffle play. I was familiar with several of the musicians here like Dave Holland, Keith Jarrett and and Jack DeJohnette, so as enjoyable as their msuic is, the real revelation for me was listening to hitherto unheard musicians like Arild Andersen, Eberhard Weber and Masqualero. The drawback of downloading the music digitally is the lack of liner note and side person information, but that was more than offset by the price, which made this an attractive way to delve into the ECM catalog and discover new music.
Rarum Box Set 2 - amazon.com

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