In 1969 Manfred Eicher formed the ECM label and by the mid-1970s, the label was well-known for its atmospheric and sparse settings which made strong use of silence, brilliant recording quality and a sort of jazz minimalism.
Some of its records are fairly free while others use folk melodies as the basis for their improvisations. Not all of the ECM sessions fit the stereotype (which was sometimes blamed for being the inspiration for the rise of New Age) such as dates by Old and New Dreams, Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition and Pat Metheny. Among the label's other top artists through the years have been Keith Jarrett, Gary Burton, Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Egberto Gismonti and Chick Corea. Producer Eicher has often been willing to stretch the boundaries of jazz into World Music, European folk songs and wholly-composed classical music, admirably recording music that fit his taste without worrying about specific record sales. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi