Jan Erik Kongshaug, a Norwegian guitarist and sound engineer who was essential in the creation of the legendary “ECM Sound” (or “Rainbow Sound”), died November 5 in Oslo, Norway. He was 75.
Through his work with ECM Records’ Manfred Eicher and at his own Rainbow Studios in Oslo, Kongshaug helped put his country’s jazz music on the map. As of his death, he had been engineer on nearly half of ECM’s catalog, and about one of every six ECM albums was recorded at Rainbow. Among the thousands of credits in his discography were the albums with which Norwegian artists like guitarist Terje Rypdal and saxophonist Jan Garbarek made their breakthroughs. Kongshaug himself was a musician, entering the industry as a session guitarist in 1960s Trondheim. However, he was studying electrical engineering even then, and had long been a jazz fan; he had an intuitive grasp of how acoustic jazz should sound on records.