Every artist’s story is unique, though the evidence suggests Yelena Eckemoff’s is more unusual than most. ..Blooming Tall Phlox and In the Shadow of a Cloud… provide a sterling survey of her artistry, especially when her talents as a musician, composer, producer, and conceptualist are showcased so thoroughly.
In the Shadow of a Cloud
The Russian pianist Yelena Eckemoff has been living in New York since the early 1990s, where she has earned an excellent reputation in the jazz scene there for many years. Especially because of her lyrical-improvising piano style, of which she is also featured on her latest recording. “In The Shadow Of A Cloud” gives a […]
In addition to establishing a dialogue between American and European musicians, canceling the presumed differences between their respective jazz styles, this album combines poetry, refined technique and interpretive intensity. A rare example of the balance between intellectual complexity and emotional immediacy.
These are pieces that, while they are still swinging or sometimes have something like a bossa rhythm (delicately hinted by bassist Drew Gress and drummer Gerald Cleaver), are completely cliché free. Eckemoff’s sound paintings are enchanced by Potter, who, in addition to tenor and soprano sax, also plays flute and bass clarinet, and Rogers, who frames it with a deeply relaxed melody-wide spinning. Just as calmly, the pianist dabbles her solos in the imagined fields and waters of her youth memories, like tripping on wet grass. Autumn jazz for the longer nights, when the hope for the spring glows.
Although we are dealing with a truly stellar configuration consisting of musicians with unique identities, they cannot suppress the genius of the pianist. This does not mean that we do not have the opportunity to listen to Chris Potter’s phenomenal parts, Adam Rodgers’ excellent solos and the wonderful work of Gress – Cleaver. Each of the musicians makes a huge contribution and maximum commitment, but it is Yelena Eckemoff that shines brighter here, as the creator of the whole enterprise, pianist, composer and soul of the whole.
In the last issue the Russian-American pianist has already announced the album and it has even become a double CD. The illustrious quintet is led by saxophonist Chris Potter, guitarist Adam Rogers, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Gerald Cleaver are also on board. The enormously productive Yelena Eckemoff wrote 14 songs, which she was inspired […]
Eckemoff’s compositions are something special in contemporary jazz, distinct from the rest and sound good with both European and American musicians. Her music has matured over the years, her writing from one disc to the other has acquired something profoundly original that brings the sideman, in our case rather navigated musicians, to give their best in emotional, not just technical terms. ..Eckemoff is one of the great personalities of contemporary jazz, as a composer and a leader who knows how to manage the bands with which she records.
These are songs, so well crafted, written and executed. I think of them as songs, as they all tell a story. They may be instrumental, but along with the poems and photos, they are like episodes of a film or chapters of a book. And they are very personal. The imagery in her compositions is vivid, bright, melancholic, nostalgic, filled with memories that are all brought to life through her music.
No matter with which musicians Yelena Eckemoff has recorded her records, the music always bears her personal signature. And yet, in this production, too, it is the case that the participating artists are left plenty of room for their personal development and presentation of their special abilities on the instruments, so that the mood can develop slowly and one or two emotions can take their course in different directions. And with Chris Potter on saxophone, flute and bass clarinet, and Adam Rogers on guitar, great individualists are available, so that a lot of tension is self-evident in the composition of the songs. Once again, she has succeeded in combining poetic moments of silence with brilliant jazz improvisations, a sound full of captivating elegance and a self-evident fact of the lecture, music that seems to flow on its own. In short – anyone who loves the music on ECM records should get their money’s worth with Yelena Eckemoff!
While thoroughly modern in approach and sound, there are no hard edges here; simply accessible, sometimes driving and often introspective “tone poems” if you will.
The collective experience and maturity of the band brings the word confidence to mind. Saxophonist Potter said the writing “awakens a feeling” and the result is supported with repeated listenings. There is a calmness to the music that is very evocative of the memories being represented in sound. Highly recommended.
Once again it has been possible to merge poetic moments of the quiet kind with brilliant improvisations of jazz, to a sound full of captivating elegance and a matter of course for the lecture, music that seems to flow by itself. In short – who loves the music on ECM Records, should come to Yelena Eckemoff and get his money’s worth!
The music of The Shadow Of A Cloud is characterized by a remarkable interplay of the band and daring improvisations. In the Shadow of a Cloud is an impressive soundtrack for the life she left in Russia when she and her husband emigrated to North Carolina in 1991.
Yelena Eckemoff’s flow of inspiration seems to have no end, it’s now the third album within a year and each one has a different story, uses different stylistic devices, offers each time with different musicians, always unmistakably drawn by Eckemoff’s handwriting. Transformation ability seems to be as connected with her name as creativity and both bring her to a unity on “In The Shadow Of A Cloud.”
Yelena Eckemoff’s jazz compositions and her jazz piano playing definitely have their own individual touch: classically grounded, Slavic in color, harmoniously rounded, ballad-like and rambling. Eckemoff loves flowing emotions, expansive improvisation, intoxicating increases. But the music gets its special quality from the fact that the pianist repeatedly brings renowned jazz musicians from Scandinavia and the USA to her studio. ..On “In The Shadow Of A Cloud” Chris Potter (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, bass clarinet) and Adam Rogers (electric guitar) are responsible for the compaction and adventure in Eckemoff’s music. The rhythm team of the quintet, Drew Gress (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums), is also part of the American jazz elite. Yelena Eckemoff was inspired this time by memories of her apparently carefree childhood and youth in Russia. In the 14 songs (on two CDs) slow and semi fast tempi predominate, the rhythms float and flow powerfully, and the suction into the rapturous and spacious is irresistible. The soul learns to fly.
Among the highlights are the evocative title tune with its melding of nostalgia and urgency, the unrepressed excitement of “On the Motorboat,” Potter’s floating soprano saxophone in the irresistible “Waltz of the Yellow Petals,” and “The Fog,” in which Gress’s bass line buoys a feeling that manages to be at once mysterious and reassuring. Throughout, Eckemoff’s impeccable keyboard touch, harmonic resourcefulness and intriguing compositions make In the Shadow of a Cloud an important addition to the discography of a pianist whose reputation continues to expand.
Compelling sidemen. I thought this was the first time I listen to the leader Yelena Eckemoff (from Moscow), but when I search my blog, I found that I heard her trio with Arildd Andersen and Peter Erskine: Yelena Eckemoff Trio / Glass Song (2013.) It was mainly static playing, but in this work it is […]
These are compositions, not improvisations, yet they allow for freedom of expression within their structures. She works here with hard core jazz players, especially the renowned woodwind artist Chris Potter, and guitarist Adam Rogers, who share in taking hold of the tiller with Eckemoff while navigating these melodic shoals. The titles refer to specific places, moods, or natural events, a recurrent trope in her earlier releases as well. Close listening offers a world of rewards.
“In the shadow Of a Cloud” is a work awash in water and sunlight. Many song titles refer to rivers and bridges, and the recording, produced by Eckemoff with extraordinary limpidity, flows from track to track, forming a kind of suite. The recording is lovely even when it’s turbulent. ..Immerse yourself in Shadow Of A Cloud to experience a world you never knew you missed.
A fabulous new CD (her second double disc this year), a virtuosic pianist with an all-star line-up, including Chris Potter on sax. What I really enjoyed was the complex interplay on every track. Out front solos are occasionally taken, but the musicians are all soloing together at the same time and the interplay creates new music. Fans of ECM will especially tune into this.
I first knew Russian pianist, who has been living for 25 years in New York, from Yelena Eckemoff Quintet – A Touch of Radiance (L & H Production, 2014) – recorded with her American companions like Mark Turner, Joe Locke, George Mraz and Billy Hart. This time, there is another self-produced album at her own record label and packed with the 14 musical themes, original poems and original paintings (see the covers) created by one and the same author. It is supported, as before, by all-star dream team, made up of not the less well-known Chris Potter: tenor & soprano saxophones, flute, bass clarinet; Adam Rogers: electric guitar; Drew Gress: double bass; Gerald Cleaver: Drums.
Yelena Eckemoff a transplanted Russian composer and pianist who, it seems, has independently discovered jazz. ..She through-composes a good part of her music, which nevertheless absorbs and expresses the fundamental quality of jazz, its harmonic and melodic idiom as well as its feeling of spontaneity.
“In The Shadow Of A Cloud” is the third in a string of memories-based jazz-classical music, and the 11th concept album from prolific Russian pianist and composer Yelena Eckemoff. ..In The Shadow Of A Cloud features Eckemoff’s classically enhanced lyricism and nimble, oftentimes surprising jazz gravitas woven in layered, high-brow, high-standards interplay. ..Eckemoff achieves a kind of literal time travel, not just for herself, but for any listener open to the experience.
The supple texture of Yelena Eckemoff’s piano keys and the limber tweets of Chris Potter’s saxophone define the dominant characteristics of the latest release from Eckemoff’s quintet, In the Shadow of a Cloud. The ambient soundscapes produce a succor touch that reverberates across the melodic progressions, penetrating the cerebral senses of the audience.
Throughout the entire album, Potter, Rogers, Gress and Cleaver play as if they’ve been with Eckemoff for years. And the existing chemistry shared between them drives Eckemoff to heights she has rarely before reached. Fans of her prior recordings will still find plenty to love. Still, at the same time, just as Eckemoff is challenged, with each and every recording, to raise her game and broaden her purview, so, too, will fans of the pianist/composer find themselves opening up to the greater possibilities, the more unequivocal spontaneity and unexpected fire of In the Shadow of a Cloud…Eckemoff’s most eminently impressive release to date.
Pianist and composer Yelena Eckemoff continues to release impressive material that is both melodic and adventurous. This time she releases a double album worth of material with the flexible and sensitive team of Adam Rogers/g, Drew Gress/b, Gerald Cleaver/dr and Chris Potter, who brings a wide palate of woodwinds. ..Is she ever coming to the West Coast?
The double disc maintains its cohesiveness by means of fusing jazz and classical sensitivity with a great balance, and of course the amazing band Eckemoff has compiled, but in this case, they are inspired by the uniqueness of the compositions, which are sophisticated, full of developed themes that weave through various feels and permutations. There are moments of classical chamber music lyricism and moments of more jazzier swinging improvisations. In the Shadow of a Cloud exemplifies the musical images that can be evoked by the fusion of styles, captivating the energy and spontaneity of jazz with the elegant forms and melodic development of classical music, though the music is complicated and cerebral at times, it is fresh enough to ensure the attention of the jazz music lover. Well done throughout.
While others like her are said to “blur the (artificial) lines between the two musical styles, Miss Eckemoff actually blurs the musics themselves – as if in an agitating beaker containing both in liquefied form. And it is this ceaseless agitating action that Yelena Eckemoff creates music that is quite singular unto herself and no other musician. ..Yelena Eckemoff appeared full formed, ever since her very first recording; a creative time-bomb, primed and awaiting activation as if by the first bars of each of her compositions that she plays.
Eckemoff sheds her skin once again and comes in with a classic, ECM worthy date that finds her mixing angular jazz with left leaning impressionism aided by a crew of experienced New Yorkers that know how to deliver this sound and vision. This is the sound of her memories of days gone by, spread over two discs with some improv aces that know how to sound like she feels. Certainly something different and out of the ordinary.