On a day when the sky is blue and crisp and the sun is reflecting off snow, what better album to listen to than this piano trio disc by the Russian, now US resident, Yelena Eckemoff with Danish bassist Mads Vinding and American drummer Peter Erskine.
Is suppose it was Erskine’s name that first drew me to this disc. He is such a versatile percussionist, one minute driving a big band, the next grooving in the Diana Krall band, and then, especially when left to his own devices, as on his ECM trio discs with John Taylor and Palle Danielsson, a highly melodic colourist, minimal and letting the silences speak as strongly as the cymbal splashes.
There is an amazing moment nearly five minutes into the second track here, After Blizzard, when Eckemoff and Erskine sound like splintering, shattering, skidding and tinkling ice, yet not in a twee, delicate way but in a strong and slightly scary, elemental way.
This long disc (over 70 minutes) is filled with such amazing moments, as Eckemoff brings her strong classical background and her impeccable technique to bear upon highly creative, and sometimes quite jazzy, compositions. It sounds like a lot of the music is through composed but there is clearly still instinctive improvisation going on all the way through, too.
Vinding is one of those Scandinavian bassists who seems to channel folk melodies along with a muscular and musical tone and highly adaptive style.
The titles of the pieces say a lot about the music: Silence, Stubborn, Freezing Point, Snow Bliss, White Magic, but in amongst these white vistas there are also Scents of Christmas and Romance by the Fireplace.
I have been reading The True Deceiver, by Tove Jansson, the Finnish writer and philosopher best known for her Moomin stories for children, and this disc feels like the musical equivalent of Jansson’s prose: crisp, clean, concise in expression, full of space, and suggesting even greater depths of wisdom, and subtlety both of emotion and thought, beneath the surface.