Yelena implores us that music is an experiential relationship between listener and her vinyl or CD releases. Yelena’s music stimulates the mind, body and soul both through her compositions, artwork and self- penned poetry. Music to be enjoyed beyond the limited trend of streaming. Yelena is a genre defying musician blending her classical roots with jazz influences to create her own sound. Colors is possibly Yelena’s finest release so far whether laying down a solid groove or being playfully introspective she is ably supported by the fine drumming of Manu Katche.
Postmodern abstraction, classical ideas and jazz form an intimate connection in the new Eckemoff/Katche duo, with Katche’s drums and cymbals providing for a firm footing. Here, musicians are at work interacting and finding parallels with each other and creating record’s emotional abundance, all connected to Eckemoff’s lyricism, to the play of various colors, individualistically spanning music into intelligent and homogeneous unity rising from the shared feelings.
In the 14-part suite “Colors,” the Russian and the Frenchman together color the stages in a woman’s life. Delicate cymbals jingle like the eyelids of a baby in “Pink,” rocky toddler energy determines the driving “Orange,” in “Blue” the play figurines, which the expectant mother builds up in the nursery, come to life. It is a constant give and take between Eckemoff and her delicately melting compositions and Katché, who always remains true to his groove line without slipping into the bold. Even death, which ends the sensitive exchange of keys, drums and cymbals in “Black,” can be endured optimistically calm.
Colors is an exceptional addition to Yelena Eckemoff’s discography, and a very clear picture of her compositional and pianistic talents, with everything extraneous stripped away. Manu Katché’s contribution bears the hallmarks of his style: tonal color, invention, and his inimitable groove. It is not surprising that Eckemoff has opted to play live shows supporting the release solo, rather than use another drummer.
Yelena may be Russian by birth, and now American by residence, but you would not know that by the exotic tonalities expressed in this album. From the opening strains, and consistently voiced throughout, Yelena this time takes us to the desert climes of north Africa and the Middle East, where Arabic scales and rhythms reign supreme. …Dear Yelena: you gift us with your own pianistic depth and imagination; unceasing compositional creativity in formulating this genuinely compelling musical milieu; and completing it with a radical masterstroke of artistic team selection.
Short summary in English: The truism will be the statement about the variability of human life. However, this is the truth of the music of Yelena Eckemoff and Manu Katche. Variety of life colors. Experiences , emotions, moods. Musically, we get a reflection of this image, a wide palette of interpenetrating styles: classic, jazz, blues, rock. And also, and maybe above all, a wonderfully complementary
duet of instrumentalists.
Colors” is more than a contemporary melting pot of fine jazz and classical music, perfect piano pitch, artful, tempestuous variations, impeccable, spacious articulation, seamless transitions — although it is all that. …This album kept me company on many restless nights, thinking about my own life and death. It is another thoughtful, kind, and imaginative play on music, poetry, and art — one rarely visited.
Despite having already showcased her classically informed, ECM-influenced aesthetic on more than a dozen albums in the past decade, seeing to everything from accompanying artwork and poetry to composing and contracting, Eckemoff shows no signs of slowing down. The music continues to flow, and her well clearly runs deep.
Everywhere the music features thoughtful, melodic duets Mr Katché contributing to this music with what can only be described as rhythmic mysticism as he responds telepathically to what Miss Eckemoff sometimes barely suggests. Both musicians continue to ceaselessly ring in the changes in moo, structure and tempo, making for a constantly miraculous programme…..a suite of music captured once again in detail and warmth by incomparable engineering wizardry of Rich Breen; a record to absolutely die for.
This is the prolific Eckemoff ‘s first duo album, a piano and drums affair with another topline partner sitting at the kit: Manu Katche, a distinctive drumming stylist and a leader in his own right. five of them on ECM Records. This CD is a panoramic set of Eckemoff originals that affixes different colors to life’s stages. …Eckemoff’s music is often complex and cerebral, drawing on her classical studies in her native Russia, and it frequently leans toward the reflective and inward.
Classical and jazz are the dominant poles of reference on an Eckemoff release, but on this one her playing ventures into blues and even rock’n’roll. In one of the album’s more surprising moves, “Orange” celebrates the joy of youth with the drummer backing the pianists’s rousing lines with a muscular backbeat, while “Indigo” calls forth a soulful, R&B-styled treatment. Colors isn’t without moments of reflection, however, as illustrated by the lyrical, introspective ballad “Blue,” its playful central episode aside.
Title: Musical Explorations of Hues **** Moscow State Conservatory-trained Yelena Eckemoff has entitled her newly released album “Colors” and I immediately thought of Ken Nordine’s own series of spoken jazz on his series of brief witticisms on hues. Eckemoff with drummer Manu Katché take on 14 colors (including black and white), and package notes have her […]
I often listened to the album while working on the video and with every listening I liked it better and better. The interaction between the two musicians fascinates me. Yelena Eckemoff’s playing has a different approach, makes it curious. In addition, Manu Katché’s art on the drums. Colors creates a unique mood: contrary, powerfully restrained, beautiful, exciting relaxing …
Colors covers a wide range of moods and styles, a mode of operation that can reveal weaknesses in a thematic cohesion. That Eckemoff and Kache avoid this potential hazard over a fourteen song, near-eighty minute set is remarkable. One of Yelena Eckemoff’s finest recordings.
As with all the works of this pianist, you keep listening to the record until the end being fascinated by her way of making music: between improvisation and composition, classical and jazz, without resembling a crossover project at all! A great record, which has all the qualities to remain among the best things of the current year.
…This unanticipated surprise of an album: gorgeous piano and nuanced composition meets equally gorgeous and nuanced drumming, care of two of the more extraordinary artists on the planet!.. Ms. Eckemoff and Mr. Katché listen so closely, and interact with such exquisite sensitivity, that it becomes difficult to even separate them from one another – theirs is an intimacy rarely experienced in any art form… This music serves as meditative backdrop, if one so desires; it is equally deserving of microscopic attention, insofar as two such stellar talents provide respectively an album-length set of in-depth master lessons in musical dynamics, technical acumen, and intensely in-sync interplay… So…prepare yourself for some serious pleasure with an unprecedented album of piano/drum duets that are guaranteed to be timeless.
The artists create an ideal team that drives each other. Katché not only follows the Eckemoff’s keyboard and creates an atmosphere around the piano, but often seems to harmonious and melodic. His charisma and enthusiasm, felt in his playing, perfectly harmonizes with the impressionistic, full of musical poetics style of the pianist. “Colors” is 80 minutes of beautiful and deep music. It is also another proof of Yelena Eckemoff’s unlimited ability in terms of sound creations.