Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek released the marvellous In Praise of Dreams in 2004. More than a solo recording, the whole album works as a conversation between himself, American/Armenian violist Kim Kashkashian and frequent collaborator French/Ivorian drummer Manu Katché.

Underpinned by Jan Garbarek’s sparse use of samplers or keyboard and by Manu Katché’s subtle yet complex drumming patterns or sampled looped electronic drums, the musicians initiate a highly melodic and elegiac suite of compositions more akin to the song form than to jazz improvisation – many tunes like the title track “In praise of dreams” for instance following a call-and response structure.

Jan Garbarek - In praise of dreams (2004)
Jan Garbarek – In praise of dreams (2004)

This minimal dialogue between the beautiful tone of a classically trained violist and the circular lines on the saxophone propels the music into a different dimension that transcends genres and categories. And “Knot of place and time” is simply magical.

If dreams are movies for the mind, the album is aptly titled – its atmospheres are evocative and decidedly ‘filmic’[…] As for the album’s title, it was borrowed from the poem “In Praise of Dreams” by Wislawa Syzmborska, which begins, in the English translation, “In my dreams/I paint like Vermeer van Delft”… There is something in the climate of Garbarek’s recording, at once enigmatic and crystal-clear, that makes the image seem appropriate. ECM