The ambient soundscapes and eclectic tresses of Forget-Me-Not from pianist Yelena Eckemoff showcases music that stimulates the mind through complex entanglements and ethereally textured chimes reverberating in a broad range of keys and decibels. The improvised parts are proportioned to the structured motifs so the tracks keep their autonomy while maintaining a melodic fluidity.
Eckemoff’s talents are walking the artistic tightrope of her personal experience in Moscow and that of the form and function of the more traditional western improvisational forms of jazz in the United States… Eckemoff is the type of artist to drive a critic and most major label executives to the nearest ledge as her prolific talents sidestep the more standard categorization with ease.
Yelena Eckemoff’s latest offering Forget-me-Not is a jazz and classically infused exploration of beauty, textures and improvisational genius. …With a vast discography, that includes some of the leading figures in jazz today, Eckemoff has clearly established herself as a top ranking composer. The question is no longer whether she can be considered in the ranks of top composers; it is now how far her musical journey will take her.
Pianist and composer Yelena Eckemoff undoubtedly turns heads (and raises many eyebrows) when listeners hear her rare blend of classical chamber music and progressive jazz on her latest CD, Forget-me-not. …Overall, the record is intriguing and intellectually stimulating. At times romantic, often eerie, but always intimate, it’s as though a dreamy mist descends upon you while you’re listening to it.
Sonically pastoral beauty that delights the senses and evokes the listener in an engaged journey beyond can be found throughout this phenomenal release. … Set to a milieu of expressive percussion and arco textures, Eckemoff traverses the listener through a canvas of beautiful harmonic colors with liberated pianism. Mazur underpins with cymbals in a flurried but cohesive accompaniment to Eilertsen focused yet perceptive, soloing. The beauty of the opening cut sets the thematic journey through the many landscapes, creating an atmospheric troposphere that is intoxicating.
Yelena Eckemoff writes music which is rich in broader atmospheres than is usual in jazz. She moves easily between composed music with something of a modern, impressionistic classical feel to it, and grooves which are thoroughly jazzy, and there is also that feeling of freshness that comes from different cultures mixing together in the music, just as they do in the musician. …This is music with that quiet depth that comes from a really rich musical hinterland.
(This is) a disc comprised of ten original compositions with a unifying theme: a floating, dreamy atmosphere filled with cerebral and stimulating tone poems. Eckemoff weaves her different influences into her improvisations with seamless ease. …An exciting composer and improviser, Yelena Eckemoff has produced a thought provoking and engaging record that fuses multiple musical currents into a unique whole.
Eckemoff has been establishing her reputation for creative music that is both free and romantic. Slower tempos reinforce the modest and restrained expressions, yet at the same time we discover that this group’s vision is to make transcendent musical statements. The result is je ne sais quoi, with fascinating elements and qualities which are hard to describe. To fully understand and appreciate the nuance of this music, tune into the emotional content of the pieces. See if they don’t become memorable as they resonate from heart to heart across cultures.
FORGET-me-NOT is an album without borders, a gallery of animate snapshots that float on the wind. Its fluid transitions hang like a necklace from the neck of a mother who stares through the window of her past and finds a thousand songs to sing. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come for an artist who continues to add feathers to her wings with each new release.