Sound engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug passed away yesterday night, Noember 5, 2019, at the age of 75.
Jan Erik Kongshaug, recording engineer on many productions made in Oslo at the Bendiksen, Talent, and Rainbow Studios has died, aged 75. “Our first studio session together, and the beginning of a close collaboration lasting nearly fifty years, was Afric Pepperbird in September, 1970, with Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen. We were all rather innocent beginners, then,” Manfred Eicher recalls, “but listening to the playback shared a growing awareness of participating in something special.”What a loss. But his recordings will remain. They are timeless.
Near the beginning of the ECM story, Jan Erik engineered the influential series of solo piano recordings that included Chick Corea’s Piano Improvisations. Vol, 1 & 2, Keith Jarrett’s Facing You, and Paul Bley’s Open, To Love and, working closely with Manfed Eicher, helped to realize the clarity and transparency of sound that would become a hallmark of the label’s recordings.
“We experimented a lot then with microphone placements,” he recalled in a 2007 interview, “But, almost from the beginning, we never had to talk very much about technical things. A look or a gesture and I would know what was needed.”
Though most of the work took place in his native Norway, Kongshaug also contributed to ECM sessions at New York’s Power Station, where Pat Metheny’s Offramp and Keith Jarrett’s Standards were produced, and to the live recordings Personal Mountains and Sleeper of Jarrett’s quartet with Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen in Japan.