Jan Garbarek was borned on March 4, 1947 in the town of Mysen, Norway. He is the only son of a Polish P.O.W. Czesław Garbarek and of a farm girl. Garbarek spent his early life in the capital city of Norway, Oslo. The musical genre in which he mainly composes and also interprets is jazz.
He is married to Vigdis with whom he also has a daughter named Anja, also a musician. Garbarek’s artistic inspiration can trace its roots back to the Scandinavian folk music. He rose to fame on the worldwide jazz music scene after he signed a contract with ECM records where he recorded his very first albums.
Jan Garbarek can be regarded as a pioneer of ambient jazz. His most notable album of this sub-genre would be ‘Dis’ released in 1976. The vast majority of Garbarek’s records had been labeled by some critics as New Age Music and not as ‘contemporary jazz’.
After a long series of vanguard albums, he became an international artist featuring the post-bop jazz sub-genre. He also became the leader of Keith Jarret’s ‘European Quartet’. One of his most critically acclaimed album, ‘Dis’ released in 1976, featured the collaboration with Ralph Towner and was used as soundtrack in various films and documentaries along the time’s passing.
It was a collaboration between him and the Hillard Ensemble. The L.P. was subsequently one of the best jazz selling records of the 1990s. Garbarek continued to compose music which went to be part of various soundtracks for other European films (most of them Norwegian or French). Additionally, the song ‘Rites’ was used as track for the american movie ‘The Insider’.
His latest creation was released on 2005, namely the L.P. titled ‘In Praise of Dreams’. In the very same year the album was nominated for the Grammy for ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’. It eventually lost to ‘Unspeakable’ by Bill Frisell.
- Jan Garbarek Group – Jan Garbarek’s official website
- Jan Garbarek: Improvising is about finding a common language on www.telegraph.co.uk
- Jan Garbarek’s profile on www.allmusic.com
- Jan Garbarek on www.lastfm.com
- Jan Garbarek on www.wikipedia.org (in English)