What more need to be said about Yelena Eckemoff? Besides the fact that she is an exceptional pianist/composer who has released numerous recordings that attests to it. In keeping step with her progression, her latest collection, Flying Steps, is merely a catapult boasting all and more that Eckemoff is capable of.
Pianist Yelena Eckemoff’s classical training in Russia certainly stands out on her “Flying Steps” CD, but so do the improvisational and interplay capabilities of her trio with bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and drummer Peter Erskine. …Flying Steps” is a democratic, ECM-inspired statement by a true jazz original.
There’s a rare delicacy to this luminous, ECM-ish piano-trio outing that features the remarkably sensitive rhythm duo of bassist Darek Oles and drummer Peter Erskine. … Among the real gems are “Promise,” “A Smile,” the sparse “Isolated” and poignant “Mama,” all underscored by Oles’ graceful, woody tones and Erskine’s painterly approach to the kit. Drum fans will revel in Erskine’s choices throughout this keenly interactive offering.
Pianist Eckemoff has plenty of room to allow her instrument to roam in this trio setup, so much so that the ancillary double-bassist and drummer often seem to disappear in these romantic, reflective doodles. …I do plan to get to know this genial record better when there’s nothing pressing.
Flying Steps is a part of Eckemoff’s evolution, the pianist playing to her strengths with conviction and great ability. To her credit, she looks forward in choosing musical company that can move her along without discarding the equity she has built over the years. Eckemoff has always incorporated the principles of progression in her compositions and, with Flying Steps, she does so with her thematic presentation.
There is an unmistakable note of nostalgia in the music that is only intensified with each new listen. For me, more overtly personal tracks like these reach deepest. Take, for example, “Mama,” which is a brilliant and sublime confluence of time, space, and technique that seems to constitute the very heart of what Eckemoff is capable of at her best.