Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin : Live

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Live, this deeply continental and assured sextet is a jam band with the precision of a Swiss watch. Like a sophisticated mechanical timepiece, it’s all in the complications. Where in a watch a complication is a function, like a power reserve indicator or a second hand with its own dial, in keyboardist Nik Bärtsch’s supple group it’s a texture: the way Björn Mayer’s arco bass resonates against, with and around Andi Pupato’s percussion in the huge-sounding “Modul 41_17” that launches this hypnotic set, or the way Sha’s alto saxophone burns through the careful structure of “Modul 45,” the nervy cut that begins disc two so sneakily.

LIVE, Ronin’s fourth ECM offering, was recorded between 2009 and 2011 in various northern European locales, except for one track set down in Tokyo. The first disc is five tracks; the second contains four. The shortest is a hair over eight minutes, the longest more than double that. There are moments of peace, of near-stasis. But over the course of these long discs, there’s no sag. Expertly sequenced, they unfold like a single concert.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published