Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mike Nock - Ondas

At the time of this recording, New Zealand's Mike Nock was one of the great, unsung pianists in European stlyed jazz. His elegant phrasing and wildly inventive melodicism fly in the face of all notions that claim improvisation must be outside Western musical parameters and structures. On Ondas, Nock has assembled a rhythm section that, while never having played together before shared the ability to create the bedrock, however flexible, for the artist's crystalline compositions and solos. Eddie Gomez was a wise choice for this session because of his experience with Bill Evans, who is an obvious influence on Nock's own composing -- as is Keith Jarrett. His pizzicato flourishes and shifting timbres on "Forgotten Love" and "Visionary," while retaining an elemental sense of meter, are remarkable. Christensen is the greatest of all the drummers in the ECM stable. His style is one of paucity and sparse riffs, but his cymbal "dancing" is a trademark favorite of pianists and saxophonists everywhere. He has the ability to open up time, creating a window for improvisers to stretch each note, each interval, each mode, for all it's worth, suspending notions of time and space for the listener. Evidence is on the title track and "Land of the Long White Clouds." For his part, Nock is a magician of lyrical invention. His compositional architecture is created of minor modes and subtle textures. His chords are small enough to be their own rhythm section and large enough to fit all the notes in between them and the next octave in combinatory gestures of shimmering beauty. He does all of this in a manner in which tension and its resolution are in constant flux, never out of balance with one another. His solo on "Forgotten Love," that is based upon Gomez', is a case in point: towering ivy clusters of notes flex over darkened minor chords, up and through the middle and then upper registers of the instrument before inviting Gomez back in. In all, this is a glorious recording by a crack batch of musicians. It is also a stellar example of what Manfred Eicher's label and production offer to the world. - by Thom Jurek, AMG

"Manfred (Manfred Eicher) wrote me a letter after hearing In Out and Around, saying he wished that album had been on ECM and telling me he wanted to make a trio recording with Gomez, Christensen and myself.
I played quite often with Gomez on recordings and tours, but never with Christensen.
The first day in the studio the trio played quite differently - free high energy jazz, which was erased before I even heard it!  I loved the session but Manfred seemed disinterested.
The next morning he got up at dawn and we began recording around 9am.  By 11am we were finished as he knew he had what he wanted.
It was a very collaborative session.  The first piece; ‘Shadows of Forgotten Love’ was on In Out and Around but Manfred had his own vision for the piece, suggesting I just play the first 16 bars and forget about the bridge section.  We finished the first take and I saw Manfred gesticulating wildly in the control room for us to continue - which we did and which you can actually hear on the recording.  It was all very spontaneous and a wonderfully unusual collaborative experience for me.
I was very much into Brazilian music and culture at the time ('Ondas' means 'waves' in Portuguese) but interestingly enough I came up with the title while on one of my frequent visits to Nelson NZ, situated on Golden Bay.
Manfred loved the title, as apart from the sound of the word it also had a somewhat enigmatic quality, as he felt very few people would know what it actually meant". by Mike Nock - September 15, 2010

Artist: Mike Nock
Album: Ondas
Year: 1981
Label: ECM (1982)
Runtime: 51:10

1.  Forgotten Love 15:59
2.  Ondas 9:11
3.  Visionary 11:37
4.  Land Of The Long White Cloud 7:58
5.  Doors 6:23
All compositions - by Mike Nock 

Mike Nock (Piano)
Eddie Gomez (Double Bass)
Jon Christensen (Drums)


  1. Thanks for this! This one is just how I like my ECM. Beautiful, elegant, meditative, but not so dreary and cold. I think I'll go pull out my Fourth Way albums and get me some more Mike Nock!

  2. Thank you for this amazing piece of jazz music by Nock!

    Any chance you can upload Strata by Mike Nock?

  3. Hi, Thanks for your excellent blog. Would you reup Mike Nock – Ondas. All links are dead. Thank you!

  4. Any chance of a re-up please??

  5. Many thanks! Much obliged.



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