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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

JAN GARBAREK

By Vikram Patel

In Praise Of Dreams
ECM

In some circles, contemporary Eurojazz is a synonym for tepid, bland and boring. While in some cases that's apt, it's also dismissive of a whole range of European musicians who continue to push the boundaries of the medium. Consider Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, for instance. His weapon of choice is the soprano sax, an instrument that's been appropriated and tainted by vandals like Kenny G, so it's tempting to listen to Garbarek's smooth glissandos and write him off as another soulless smooth jazz purveyor. But that's a mistake, since he's laid down an impressive body for work for the ECM label since the '70s, and continues to innovate and experiment. His latest release, while not his strongest, is still solid. A trio effort with Kim Kashkashian on viola and Manu Katche on drums, In Praise Of Dreams heats up Garbarek's normally spare and icy sound with warm tones and percolating rhythms. The title track alone is worth the price of admission here.