Jan Garbarek is one of the most prominent Jazz musicians to come out of Norway.

Garbarek is of Polish descent, and was born on 4 March 1947, in Mysen, in mid-Norway. He is an autodidact saxophonist, who was inspired by hearing John Coltrane on the radio in 1961. A year later he won his first competition, later resulting in his first professional work. He is currently signed on ECM Records.

In 1968, Garbarek was the Norwegian representative to the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) festival. Recordings of this were broadcast throughout Europe. From this session, a version of Naima, a Coltrane classic, is the most famous.

Jan Garbarek's style has varied from classic jazz, via more experimental stuff to extremely subtle, mellow music. His style is not too emotional, but still somehow strongly intense, experimenting with gentle exotic and ethnic tones and rhythms from a variety of continents.

Garbarek has been on a more or less continious tour of the world from the end of the 70's, only interrupted with recording new albums. He is still going strong (Oct 2001) and has released almost 30 albums. He has had world-wide acclaim for a long time, but he hit mainstream with a particular collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble. He worked with them on an epic album names Officium (it contains the Officum defunctorum and other mediaeval music).

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