Manfred Eicher is the founder and president of ECM Records.
Manfred Eicher (born 9 July 1943, Lindau, Germany) is a German record producer and the founder of ECM Records and its subsidiaries.
Eicher studied music at the Academy of Music in Berlin. He is a record producer and a double-bass player. In 1969 he founded a record label in Munich called ECM - Edition of Contemporary Music. Some of the famous artists he has recorded over the last 40 years are Keith Jarrett, John Abercrombie, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette, Anouar Brahem, Dave Holland, Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner, Terje Rypdal, Steve Kuhn, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
A notable record ECM released in its early years was The Köln Concert, a solo piano performance by Keith Jarrett. Nearly as well known is the early Pat Metheny recording American Garage.
In 1984 Eicher started up a new label, ECM New Series, for written music, or European classical music. Some of the artists whose work was released on the New Series were Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt, John Adams, Meredith Monk, and the mediaeval composer Pérotin. Perhaps the most remarkable record was the best-seller Officium (1994), a collaboration between Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, performing some compositions by Cristóbal de Morales, Pérotin and others.
In 1992 Manfred Eicher co-directed and co-wrote the film Holozän (Man in the Holocene). In 2002 he wrote the film score for the film Kedma.
Eicher has produced most of the records released on his label. On average, each jazz record takes just two days to record and one day to mix. Most of the records have been recorded with Jan Erik Kongshaug (of Talent Studios and later Rainbow Studios) as sound engineer. To date Manfred Eicher has produced more than a thousand albums.
Eicher’s deceptively simple aesthetic is unfailingly harmonious. He records musicians he likes, allows them to trust their own instincts, and plays a directorial role... His firm but nurturing hand helped to set down some of great jazz works of the past 30 years. (Jazz Review)
Comparable figures who established recording labels with artists with characteristic performing styles, or sounds, include: Berry Gordy, Herb Alpert/Jerry Moss, William Ackerman, and David Geffen.
Quote: "I believe the producer’s role is to capture the music he likes, to present it to those who don’t know it yet."