Already upon its release it was obvious that with Officium, Jan Garbarek, The Hilliard Ensemble and Manfred Eicher had stumbled upon something very unique – a suspicion that was confirmed by The Los Angeles Times who called the album“an extraordinary hybrid of jazz improvisation and early a cappella music”, while the English Grammophone lauded the collaboration for its “spiritual time warp, where past and present happily co-exist on the basis of shared musical goals”, concluding: “Officium successfully transcends any limitations imposed by time and style. […] Recordings, documentation and presentation are exemplary”.
The notion is provocative only until one hears the results. The rightness, the naturalness of the pairing emphasizes one of the tenets of the New Series, the idea that there is a kind of "expressive truth" that informs and unites the strongest music of the ages. Just as Officium sidesteps definition-by-genre so it seems to step out of time's currents. Neither wholly composed nor completely improvised, neither ancient nor modern, it shapes its own still space beyond history.
ECM RECORDS - JAN GARBAREK - PHOTO WITH BLUE SKY, WHITE CLOUD, WIRES, WINDOWS AND A RED ROOF
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