Jon Christensen has died, aged 76. The Norwegian drummer was one of the greats of Euro jazz working with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Tomasz Stanko and many others. It wasn’t just European jazz artists that he worked with – though he was a staple of the ECM label. That of course meant he worked with legends like Keith Jarrett, Charles Lloyd and John Abercrombie as well.
Look deep into your record collection and you’re sure to find him. There he is on one of Mike Nock’s very best albums, Ondas, on a half-dozen classic mid/late 70s releases by Jarrett, and on a couple of my favourite Ralph Towner records too.
But if he’d only appeared on George Russell’s Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature that would have been enough to mourn his passing.
That 1969 recording is a legendary piece of ensemble playing – and deep in the heart of it there is Christensen.
Solid and stately and innovative – Jon Christensen was one of the great players in modern jazz drumming; somehow both freeing up the space and totally committed to marking the time. A safer pair of hands you would not find. But also he had this great conceptual headspace for both the shapes he was making and the sound of the band that he was helping to steer. So collaborative. So creative
R.I.P. Jon Christensen