Russian-born Eckemoff has appeared in these pages before, but her output seems to far outstrip our coverage. Fifteen albums in ten years have appeared on her own L&H label, of which this is No. 15. Having based herself in the US since 1991, she seems to have developed an affinity for a geographical halfway-house in the shape of Scandinavian coworkers, not only the three musicians appearing with her but also the late engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug. The suggestion that this might lead to an ECM sound is only partly borne out by her 14 original compositions, since she clearly prefers a more upfront and heavier piano sound which suits her occasionally stodgy timing. Not every track in these 87 minutes has both percussionists playing together, and their contributions are anyway fairly discreet, but the most interesting presence is that of her frequent sideman Andersen, whose interventions energize the varied material. The track titles all refer to creatures such as ‘Cicada’, ‘Grizzly Bear’ and ‘Hedgehog ‘, but an Eckemoff poem for each in the booklet sometimes says more than the music.

Jazzwise review