JAN GARBAREK — Paths, Prints (review)

JAN GARBAREK — Paths, Prints album cover Album · 1982 · Post-Fusion Contemporary Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Steve Wyzard
LONG, LONG LINES

The cover photo, by Petra Nettelbeck, is almost an ECM cliché: a long, empty road stretching off into nowhere beneath a clouded sky. The music contained within, however, is not. Released in 1982, Paths, Prints is one of Jan Garbarek's most atmospheric and introspective albums. "The Path", "Footprints" (with ethnic percussion and wood flute), "The Move", and "Arc" are all Garbarek classics. This album introduced guitarist Bill Frisell to a wider ECM audience (he had previously appeared on a very obscure Eberhard Weber album, Fluid Rustle, in 1979), and was also the first of three album appearances by Weber as Garbarek's sideman after breaking up his Colours band.

From the soprano showpiece "Kite Dance", to the wistful "To B.E." (Bill Evans, perhaps?), to the moody "Considering the Snail", to the (seemingly) improvised "Still", Paths, Prints can definitely be classified among the upper echelon of Jan Garbarek albums. Some will no doubt complain this album is too "slow", or that drummer Jon Christensen is given too little to do. Yet for those who enjoy Garbarek's sax lines that threaten to extend indefinitely, or are long-time listeners to the hypnotic timbres of Frisell or Weber, this album is highly recommended. Not an introductory work for the uninitiated, but yes, a great Sunday afternoon album.
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