Live at the Alta Trinita, 193. NDR Jazzkonzert, St. Johannis Kirche, Hamburg Harvestehude, November 25, 1984
To be crass, one could say that Jan Garbarek has "arrived" when his track, Parce Mihi Domine (from the Officium album), was featured as the closing song on the first season finale of the hit TV series, Queer As Folk. Officium (1993) was one of ECM's biggest-selling albums of all time and it was an album that many new listeners discovered Garbarek.
The Norwegian tenor and soprano saxophonist may have started off playing avant-garde jazz but by the mid-'70s, he was already into ambient jazz. For want of a better description, this 1984 concert in Hamburg can be loosely described as the music of Taxi Driver meets The Hilliard Ensemble.
Garbarek's saxophone does sound like music from the soundtrack while David Torn's guitar/synth lines recall Pat Metheny (circa Offramp) and Weather Report/Joe Zawinul. Then there are the slight Indian and Middle Eastern touches which give an exotic feel. But if anyone felt that the choral vocals would interfere with Garbarek's jazz playing, they can put their fears aside. As Garbarek's Officium and Mnemosyne albums show, the choral vocals do give the ambient jazz a contemplative feel and for Garbarek, jazz need not always be confrontational. A musical dialogue can also be engaged in a ruminative manner. If Officium and Mnemosyne are seen as the eventual fruits of Garbarek's labour, then this Hamburg show can be described as a work in progress, though the listener would have difficulty finding faults with the performance.
01. Hear My Prayer, Oh Lord (Henry Purcell)
02. The Path Places (Garbarek) Band
03. Ringing (Garbarek) Band & Choir
04. Last Stage Of A Long Journey (Garbarek/Weber) Band & Choir
05. Unknown Title (Henry Purcell) Choir
06. Chorus (Weber) Band & Choir
07. Considering The Snail (Garbarek) Band & Choir
08. Alta Trinita (Unknown) Choir
Jan Garbarek - sax
David Torn - guitar
Eberhard Weber - bass
Michael Dipasqua - drums