Label: Intercord – INT 147.300, Freedom – INT 147.300
First released on US-label Flying Dutchman 1969, under George Russell Presents...
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: W. Germany - Released: 1976
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded in Oslo, Norway in 1969.
Art Direction – Bob Heimall
Artwork [Cover Art] – Benno Friedman
Coordinator [U.s. Production] – Micahel Cuscuna, Steve Backer
Design – Nancy Greenberg
Engineer – Bjornar Andresen
Producer – George Russell
A1 - Traneflight . . . . . . . 2:53
A2 - Rabalder . . . . . . . . 8:16
A3 - Esoteric Circle . . . . . 5:23
A4 - Vips . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5:40
B1 - SAS 644 . . . . . . . . . 7:47
B2 - Nefertite . . . . . . . . . 2:03
B3 - Gee . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:09
B4 - Karin's Mode . . . . . . 7:32
B5 - Breeze Ending . . . . . 3:39
Jan Garbarek – tenor saxophone, composed
Terje Rypdal – guitar
Arild Andersen – bass
Jon Christensen – drums, percussion
Jan Garbarek had studied with the great American composer George Russell, and had previously appeared on Russell's venture into jazz-rock, Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved By Nature. Whereas his teacher's usage of rock rhythms in an avant jazz context often came off as rather clunky, for Garbarek and his guitarist, Terje Rypdal, formerly a member of the popular Norwegian band the Vanguards, such a melding was more second nature. The Esoteric Circle, the first album by their band of the same name (hey, this was still the '60s after all), is a highly successful and enjoyable effort, one that can stand comfortably with work being done at that time by Tony Williams or John McLaughlin. Garbarek's compositions range from deeply felt homages to Coltrane ("Traneflight" and "Nefertite") to rocking jams like "Rabalder," where Rypdal gets to showcase his considerable chops. In fact, some of these themes were used by Russell in his aforementioned work. Garbarek's own playing, here entirely on tenor, come largely out of Albert Ayler as well as Coltrane, and his general attack is much more raw and aggressive than the style for which he would eventually become more widely known through his recordings for ECM. Listeners who enjoy his first several albums for that label (from Afric Pepperbird to Witchi-Tai-To) will find much to savor here.
_ Review by Brian Olewnick
Jan Garbarek's solo debut, released on US-label Flying Dutchman under "Esoteric Circle" project's name (and later re-released as his solo album), is really interesting release for every Garbarek fan.
First of all,music presented there is a bit raw but innovative mix of post-bop, fusion and avant- garde jazz. Musician's line up is the same as on Garbarek second, much better known album (and his debut on ECM), but the music sounds different. Rhythm section is more conservative there and rarely leaves post-bop tradition, but Garbarek's tenor sax and partially Rypdal's electric guitar make some trips to fusion and avant-garde zones. As a result, album in whole sounds slightly unfocused, but raw,dirty and even explosive in moments (what is impossible for any Garbarek's recorded on ECM music).
Some compositions have strong emotional vibes, nice tunes, and Coltrane's influences are obvious there.At the same time, Jon Christensen and Terje Rypdal bring some heavier and rockier elements, from jazz-rock to rock jamming. Eclectic and quite unusual musical mix for Garbarek's album, isn't it?
Rare and interesting release illustrating Garbarek's (and Rypdal's) early musical influences,inspired and innovative as few first Garbarek's ECM albums are.
_ Review by snobb
If you find it, buy this album!