Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2022
Adventures of the Wildflower
If Yelena Eckemoff were a visual artist and this music were to be depicted upon an appropriate canvas, that [canvas] would most certainly have been an enormously long mural. It’s also worth noting that Miss Eckemoff is, indeed, a visual artist and her impressionistic works generously endow this production; however, strictly speaking about her musical creations now, she seems to always conceive of things on a rather epic scale. The definite article in the title, Adventures of the Wildflower suggests that she has taken her naturalist’s microscope to one said wonder of nature in the garden of her mind [and very possibly one where she resides too]. Starting there this work germinates into a whole universe of nature and that too, in all its wondrous spirituality.
Yelena Eckemoff and her Finnish band[/caption]Of all the composers that dot the contemporary map, Miss Eckemoff appears to have a particular genius for extrapolating on an idea with almost childlike wonder. The result is music which is guileless and beautiful. She told similar stories – about nature that is – with Blooming Tall Phlox , In the Shadow of a Cloud , Desert  and Nocturnal Animals . And now, with these two discs, Miss Eckemoff bids us follow her into the country garden of her mind where we make friends with a wildflower as its life unfolds in a drama of earthy, visceral passion. Along the way, we also make a dog and a mouse, chickens, skittish butterflies and hummingbirds, and gamboling children – all of whom come alive according to their nature. It is a cycle of life, described in music, which treats the whole process with due reverence to a Divine creator, who we – predictably – cannot see, but are always conscious of because of reverential tone-textures pervade this eloquent, multi layered music.
You hear this almost immediately in the ethereal beauty of the Theremin played by Jarmo Saari, which heralds the start of the cycle of life in the very first song on disc one – “In the Ground”. Miss Eckemoff then leads the rest of the ensemble with the elegance of her piano playing, for which she is renowned, and we are subsumed by the musical topography of a natural landscape that mixes beauty with danger, reverberations evocative of birds and animals, and children, as we drink in the heady sounds of the elements that come alive in nature that broadens from a humble back-garden to one that evokes the whole of planet earth – if not even Eden and Elysium. Both discs feature beautifully crafted arrangements of beguiling variety and sensuousness, in every lovingly-caressed phrase of Adventures of the Wildflower.
Miss Eckemoff has, over the years of her career, also shown herself to be extremely astute at picking the musicians to embark with her on various projects. This two-disc set is no exception. Mr Saari – who is introduced to us on Theremin, also plays an assortment of guitars and glass harp. One is tempted to go so far as to suggest that his inclusion – together with that of Panu Savolainen, who joins in on vibraphone [and, of course, Miss Eckemoff, herself] – are probably pivotal in shaping the overall sound of this music. This is especially evident in their performances with which they seductively bend and shapes the notes of some of this music – particularly “In the Ground”. However, saxophonist Jukka Perko pays his way handsomely throughout – note how he sculpts the long inventions of “Rain” and “Hummingbirds”. Meanwhile Antti Lötjönen’s contrabass and Olavi Louhivouri’s percussion colouring bring the earthy rumbling of nature to life.
Whether evocative of the rustle off spring, the steamy hiss of summer, long rainy days and the elemental and visceral vortices of nature in all its glory, each track takes us into a plethora of some wild situations and places – full of darkness and light – with trusted and inspiring musical friends.
Like the photos of lovely gardens on the cover, the music on these two CDs invites quiet contemplation. The ensemble itself, in fact, may seem as entranced in their playing as listeners will become in hearing it, but the musicianship never loses its sense of purpose and direction. And there’s no lack of contrast either, as guitars, saxophones, and vibes add a variety of colors to tracks like “Germination.” To further ensure that the title suits the cut, new ideas abound throughout too: this sextet radiates an implicit but abiding sense of mutual trust in their shared imagination. No doubt that faith is based in large measure on the way bassist Antti Lotjonen on bass and drummer Olavi Louhivuori supplies a reliable sense of rhythm, no matter how subliminal it might sometimes be. Eighteen tracks here, ranging in length from around five minutes to nine plus, blend into a perfectly cohesive whole.
Title: Yelena Eckemoff Goes Deep Into the Secret Life of Plants
Pianist Yelena Eckemoff‘s best work is typically her quietest material. Over the years, she’s explored a wide range of sounds, but where she really stands out is with her slow, wintry, often Messiaen-esque tunes. Yet her lavish new double album Adventures of the Wildflower – streaming at Spotify – is her most colorful and arguably best release yet. Stevie Wonder may have beaten her to the concept of the secret life of plants forty years ago, but the music here is as fascinatingly diverse as the floral kingdom itself. And the central flower here, eerily named Columbine, does not fade. Much as these plants send out pollen and fragrance, and even converse, what they do most of the time here, it seems, is battle the elements. This is a LONG album: hang with it and you will be rewarded.
The opening track, The Ground, sets the stage, Jarmo Saari kicking it off with an operatic swell on his theremin, later adding spare, resonant guitar chords over Eckemoff’s steady forward drive, while bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori slowly emerge from the shadows. Vibraphonist Panu Savolainen’s starry solo backs away for the band to bring everything full circle, mysteriously.
Germination begins as an icy, deep space-scape, Savolainen’s glimmer signaling a bit of bustling swing before the twinkling chill returns: pushing up through this icy ground is scary. Eckemoff portrays Weeding the Garden as swinging between the baroque, a jaunty, surrealistic shuffle and a darkly bluesy vamp, Saari and eventually the rest of the band taking a wry hands-on approach. Soprano saxophonist Jukka Perko introduces Dog Chasing a Mouse, whose liveliness and humor is laced with phantasmagoria: poor mouse!
Likewise, Rain has a frequently gorgeous bittersweetness, Eckemoff supplying neoromantic crush but also verdant cheer in tandem with Savolainen. The swooping triangulation that opens Home By the Fence is foreshadowing: this homey pastoral scene turns out to be totally Lynchian. Then the band go into carnivalesque mode for Chickens, which is a lot closer to a picture at Moussorgsky’s dead friend’s exhibition than, say, Link Wray.
Is the lingering, fugal counterpoint of Drought a portrait of the garden scheming how to weather a dry spell? If so, desolation and struggle seem to take over. The thundershower that winds up the first half of the record takes awhile to get going, the band romping triumphantly out of the suspense, Perko’s Balkan-tinged solo setting up a roaring guitar-fueled peak.
The second disc opens with the slowly swaying Winter Slumber, Eckemoff’s languid, expansive solo at the center: the interweave between vibes and piano as it brightens is absolutely luscious. Individual voices push upward and begin to bound around in Waking Up in the Spring, a subtle jazz waltz.
Interestingly, there’s an elegiac quality to the baroque interplay of Buds and Flowers: it’s the album’s most conflictedly captivating track. The inner soul ballad in Butterflies, piano paired once again with the vibes, could be the album’s most unselfconsciously lyrical moment, the theremin adding a surreal touch.
Gently rhythmic beltone piano and vibes holding the bouncy Hummingbirds together, with echoes of pastoral Pink Floyd. The wistful, Russian folk-tinged waltz Children Playing with Seed Pods could be called Milkweed at a Funeral, at least until Perko pulls the song into cheerier territory. The scene where Columbine finally goes the way of all garden plants has a stately, bolero-ish sway and encroaching echoes of the macabre from both guitar and vibes, assembled around an energetic polyrhythmic interlude.
But all hope is not lost. Another Winter is the most echoey, improvisational segment here, Perko leading the sprouts up from hibernation. In the end there are Baby Columbines, and undulating wee-hours contentment from the band to match.
As a bonus, Eckemoff includes a charmingly hand-drawn 33-page fable in the cd booklet, further illustrating Columbine’s arduous tale of struggle and renewal. That we should all be so tenacious at this pivotal moment in history.
Adventures of the Wildflower (L&H Production)
Pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff was classically trained in Russia before moving to the United States with her family. Since then she has developed a constantly growing and well-earned jazz reputation. This album is arguably her most ambitious and extended. Her pattern over her last few releases has been to develop a theme through the scope of the compositions. This two-CD album builds on the thematic style by basically following a sequential story. The music follows the growth of her columbine flowers from planting and germination through all the seasons and complexities of the garden environment to the eventual end of the life cycle. Eckemoff’s compositional skills are wonderful here – evocative, sensual, moving and gentle as needed. Rain opens with obvious “rain drops” and develops into the complete feeling of the nourishment of this garden necessity.
Eckemoff has the backing here of a Finnish quintet: Jukka Perko, saxes; Antti Lötjönen, bass; Panu Savolainen, vibraphone; Olavi Louivuori, drums; and Jarmo Saari guitars, theremin and glass harp. They are a treat, working with this material in complete empathy with the topics and Eckemoff’s direction. Titles are simple and define the mood of the track: Chickens, Thundershower, Winter Slumber, Waking Up in the Spring all set the mood clearly. Drought is tense and dissonant in an extended description of troubled emotions.
While beautifully melodic, the harmonic variations, dissonant passages and rhythmic changes are fully contemporary. The effect in all cases, however, is to make you smile or recognise the intent of what are lovely tone poems. The flitting ¾-time of Butterflies is perfect. The tangible truth here is that these compositions and the skill with which they are presented show a real love of the concept and the theme. Eckemoff has developed into a major compositional force in the jazz world as well as bringing exceptional pianistic skill. This is a beautiful release.
★★★★1/2 out of five
STREAM THESE: Hummingbirds, Winter Slumber
What better gift to receive — having made it through what appears to be the worst of our ongoing, and horribly destructive, global pandemic — than a gift borne of the very opposite of such physical destruction, namely, that of spiritual creation? Yelena Eckemoff’s latest, thoroughly multimedia album is just exactly what the doctor ordered…
Ms. Eckemoff features yet again a combined synthesis of the most advanced presentation of contemporary jazz (more about that soon), her own illustrations of the theme du jour (natural beauty), and her original poetry to accompany and amplify the former. A total package!
In fact, if as Oscar Wilde observed — “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” — then how else can I explain that my own daughter, Amanda, and I have managed to keep our souls alive through COVID by co-creating just such a melange of recorded music and poetry (mine) coupled with photographs and artistic treatments (Amanda’s)? Yelena: your intrepid artistry has rubbed off in the most felicitous way imaginable, and we thank you!
Back to the musical portion of Ms. Eckemoff’s latest offering: I have loved every single album of her prodigious career, and yet this newest one may well be my favorite of all. Why is that? Yelena has brought together once again a truly sterling ensemble (this time, from Finland) whose skills and sonorities I find to be the ideal vehicle for the composer’s imagination. Yelena orchestrates her piano-based jazz compositions for a never richer palette of sounds: everything from vibraphone, electric guitar, and Theremin (yes, you heard me correctly!) to stellar support from surely one of my favorite drummers on the planet (Olavi Louhivuori), along with jazz sax and bass contributions that just consistently work.
Yelena has never created such sumptuously gorgeous music right up next to daring avant-garde leaps into the abstract, and back again, quite like Adventures of the Wildflower. From the moment I fired up this new disc, I was taken into what felt like her private universe of highly unusual and personal colors, one more varied than ever before, yet as integrated in overall conception as virtually everyone of her recordings has been. I personally believe it’s Yelena’s deep background in classical music that makes for such rich tapestries in her compositional and arranging skill set. When she combines that, as she consistently does, with an improviser’s heart (and ear)…well, I’m not sure jazz gets much better, nor more rewarding on multiple listenings, than the album I hope you are now holding in your hands. Enjoy!
Born in Moscow, Yelena Eckemoff’s mother, Olga, was her first piano teacher.
At the early age of seven “[…] Yelena was accepted into an elite Gnessins School for musically gifted children where, in addition to common school subjects, she received extensive training in piano, music theory, music literature, solfeggio, harmony, analysis of musical forms, conducting, composing, and other musical subjects. […] «
Her biography also
states : »[…] Later Yelena studied piano with Galina Nikolaevna Egiazarova at the Moscow State Conservatory. Upon graduation with Master’s Degree in piano performance and pedagogy, she worked as a piano teacher in one of Moscow music schools, gave solo concerts, attended courses at the Moscow Jazz Studio, played in an experimental jazz-rock band, and composed a lot of instrumental and vocal music. […] «
During her career so far, Yelena Eckemoff has released a considerable number of albums.
Here is a small selection from the list on their website: “Piano Series, V. 1” (1997), “piano Series, V. 2” (2006), “The Birth Of Emmanuel” (2000), “Death And Resurrection Of Jesus Christ “(2002) or”
In 2021 “Adventures Of The Wildflower” was released.
The press release says:
“[…] As the title suggests, the double album is the story of a life, from birth to death (and rebirth), an anthropomorphic columbine blossom. […] «
The song cycle, which is spread over two records, contains eighteen compositions.
A vibraphone is not always the order of the day in the jazz genre, but it is a natural, welcome instrument.
With the Theremin, the situation is different because it is unusual. In addition to guitars and a glass harp, Jarmo Saari uses the theremin.
The first track on the album already convinces the listener that the exotic instrument is also suitable for jazz. At the same time, “In The Ground” is proof of how delicately Yelena Eckemoff and her fellow musicians go to work. Spherically floating, the whole togetherness of the band makes the added value not only of the opener.
The Columbine story continues with “Germination.” This composition can be seen as a representative of the more experimental character of some songs. In general, the combo fluctuates from first-class simplicity to attractive complexity and back again.
On the guitar, Jarmo Saari stretches a large cloth of the variety of colors. So it can be one or the other excursion into fusion. Class!
This praise should in no way diminish the merits of the other musicians. Everyone contributes their contribution to the great success of this album.
Multi-dimensional arrangements are juxtaposed with relaxed, very soothing moments.
The life of the Columbine set to music is exotic and so the Yelena Eckemoff jazz can also unfold its effect.
Two hours of fascinating jazz is supplemented by a particularly thick booklet in which the story of the flower was put into poetic words. So you can not only appreciate outstanding music, but also devote yourself to beautiful texts.
Yelena Eckemoff’s “Adventures Of The Wildflower” is a special, in every respect very noble double album. Yelana Eckemoff’s remarks
fit in with this :
»[…] I was moved to take this picture as an answer to our turbulent times […]. I believe that nothing is more important than that all earthly beings find a way to live together peacefully in the same community. The characters in my story may have disagreements with each other, but they always end up finding a way to coexist on the same property together. […] «
Side note: The columbine in our garden is now also viewed from a different angle.
Stay healthy and make time to enjoy good music as a distraction.
In Moskau geboren war Yelena Eckemoffs Mutter Olga ihre erste Piano-Lehrerin.
Im frühen Alter von sieben Jahren »[…] Yelena was accepted into an elite Gnessins School for musically gifted children where, in addition to common school subjects, she received extensive training in piano, music theory, music literature, solfeggio, harmony, analysis of musical forms, conducting, composing, and other musical subjects. […]«
Weiterhin geht aus ihrer Biografie hervor:
»[…] Later Yelena studied piano with Galina Nikolaevna Egiazarova at the Moscow State Conservatory. Upon graduation with Master’s Degree in piano performance and pedagogy, she worked as a piano teacher in one of Moscow music schools, gave solo concerts, attended courses at the Moscow Jazz Studio, played in an experimental jazz-rock band, and composed a lot of instrumental and vocal music. […]«
Während ihres bisherigen Werdegangs veröffentlichte Yelena Eckemoff eine beachtliche Anzahl von Alben.
Hier eine kleine Auswahl aus der Liste auf ihrer Website: “Piano Series, V. 1” (1997), “piano Series, V. 2” (2006), “The Birth Of Emmanuel” (2000), “Death And Resurrection Of Jesus Christ” (2002) oder “The Call” (2006).
2021 kam “Adventures Of The Wildflower” auf den Markt.
Dazu heißt es im Pressetext:
»[…] Wie der Titel schon andeutet, ist das Doppelalbum die Geschichte eines Lebens, von der Geburt bis zum Tod (und der Wiedergeburt), einer anthropomorphen Akelei-Blüte. […]«
Der auf zwei Platten verteilte Song-Zyklus enthält achtzehn Kompositionen.
Ein Vibrafon steht im Jazz-Genre zwar nicht ständig an der Tagesordnung, ist aber ein selbstverständliches, willkommenes Instrument.
Beim Theremin ist die Situation schon anders, weil doch ungewöhnlich. Neben Gitarren und Glass Harp bringt Jarmo Saari das Theremin zum Einsatz.
Schon das erste Stück des Albums überzeugt den Hörer davon, dass das exotische Instrument auch zum Jazz passt. Gleichzeitig ist “In The Ground” ein Beleg dafür, wie feinsinnig Yelena Eckemoff und ihre Mitmusiker ans Werk gehen. Sphärisch-schwebend macht das gesamte Miteinander der Band den Mehrwert nicht nur des Openers aus.
In der Akelei-Geschichte geht es mit “Germination” weiter. Diese Komposition sieht man eher stellvertretend für den mehr experimentellen Charakter einiger Lieder. Ganz allgemein pendelt die Combo von der erstklassiger Schlichtheit hin zur anziehenden Komplexität und wieder zurück.
Auf der Gitarre spannt Jarmo Saari ein großes Tuch der Farbenvielfalt. Da darf es ruhig auch der eine oder andere Ausflug in die Fusion sein. Klasse!
Durch dieses Lob sollen die Verdienste der anderen Musiker auf keinen Fall geschmälert werden. Jeder trägt seinen Obolus zum großartigen Gelingen dieses Albums bei.
Mulitdimensionale Arrangements stehen relaxte, sehr entspannende Momente gegenüber.
Das vertonte Leben der Akelei ist exotisch und so kann der Yelena Eckemoff-Jazz ebenfalls seine Wirkung entfalten.
Zwei Stunden faszinierender Jazz wird ergänzt durch ein besonders dickes Booklet, in dem die Geschichte der Blume in poetische Worte gefasst wurde. So kann man nicht nur herausragende Musik goutieren, sondern sich auch noch wunderschönen Texten widmen.
Yelena Eckemoffs “Adventures Of The Wildflower” ist ein besonderes, in jeder Hinsicht ganz edles Doppelalbum.
Dazu passen Yelana Eckemoffs Äußerungen:
»[…] Ich war bewegt, diese Aufnahme als Antwort auf unsere turbulenten Zeiten zu machen […]. Ich glaube, dass nichts wichtiger ist, als dass alle irdischen Wesen einen Weg finden, friedlich nebeneinander in der gleichen Gemeinschaft zusammenzuleben. Die Figuren in meiner Geschichte mögen zwar Meinungsverschiedenheiten miteinander haben, aber am Ende finden sie immer einen Weg, um gemeinsam auf demselben Grundstück zu koexistieren. […]«
Randbemerkung: Die Akelei in unserem Garten wird nun auch aus einem anderen Blickwinkel betrachtet.
Bleibt gesund und nehmt euch zur Ablenkung Zeit für gute Musik.
Title: The pianist offers an impressionistic, sometimes swinging tone-poem about the life of a columbine wildflower.
Following her excellent Nocturnal Animals with Arild Andersen (b) and drummers Thomas Strønen and Jon Christensen, Eckemoff’s Adventures Of The Wildflowers continues the good news, albeit in music of distinctly different instrumentation, voicings and dynamics.
As with a good few of the previous releases from this classically trained but jazz-fired polymath, the programme is augmented by a generous complement of well-packaged visual images and poetic reflections (in prose format this time) from Eckemoff, evincing the animistic spirituality which informs this soulful, now gently impressionistic, now vibrantly turned musical tone-poem about the life of a columbine wildflower.
There are a couple of useful online items about this project where Ekemoff underlines her goal of shaping compositions which leave essential room for contributions from all participants. Programmed well and beautifully recorded, the two-CD set sees the return of most of the notable Finnish musicians with whom Eckemoff worked on her Blooming Tall Phlox of 2017: the subtly attuned interplay of Savolainen, Lötjönen and Louhiuori dovetails beautifully with the contributions of the leader herself, Saari and Perko.
While one might regret the absence of Verneri Pohjola (t, flh) – who appeared on Phlox – Saari and Perko join Savolainen in bringing many an affecting figure to music which, for me, often recalled and set in fresh register the delicious suspended or floating quality which distinguished much of Eckemoff’s 2011 Forget-Me-Not with Mats Eilertsen (b) and Marilyn Mazur (d, pc) as well as her 2014 A Touch Of Radiance with Mark Turner (ts), Joe Locke (vib), George Mraz (b) and Billy Hart (d).
Atmospheric touches of glass harp and theremine from Saari – who chiefly contributes tasty, rhythmically and sonically diverse guitar – are never overdone. And if there are various passages of rubato reflection and chromatic eeriness (sample Germination, Dying and Another Winter) there is also, as always with Eckemoff, plenty of crystal-cut melody as well as much cohesively thought through rhythmic momentum and variety, as elegant as it is potent.
Overall, Adventures Of The Wildflower serves to underline the breadth and depth of Eckemoff’s reverie-rich sensibilities, her unerringly organic, even shape-shifting sense of now fluid, now cleanly delineated motivic form and dynamics. I was especially pleased to hear Jukka Perko in music of such exquisitely rendered group interaction and adroitly pitched individual voice. A musician of wide and distinctive capacity, he has a CV ranging from the tango-fed The Music Of Olavi Virta to the haunting strings-enhanced Land Of Canaan: Northern Hymns and the recent Dizzy, a tribute to the bebop master in whose band he once worked.
Here, Perko joins the equally excellent Saari and Savolainen in contributing consistently apt and inventive lines and colour to Eckemoff’s poetic vision, moving effortlessly from, e.g., the finger-clicking swing of Dog Chasing A Mouse to the ostinato pulse and teasing, free-touched cross-accents of Chickens (where Louhiuori is in typically crisp, intelligent and enlivening form). Music to make one feel and wonder, think and dream – and smile.
Yelena Eckemoff Story of a Wildflower
Russian pianist and composer Yelena Eckemoff fulfilled a dream 30 years ago when she relocated to the United States to explore jazz in its country of origin. Since then, she has collaborated with musicians such as Peter Erskine, Mark Turner, Jon Christensen, Joey Baron, Chris Potter and Billy Hart. On her new double album, “Adventures Of The Wildflower” (L&H/inakustik), she performs with a Finnish quintet that includes vibraphonist Panu Savolainen, bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori. Saxophonist Jukka Perku and guitarist Jarmo Saari, who also plays theremin and glass harp, complete the ensemble.
Accompanied by 18 poems, which can be read in the booklet, the 18 songs tell of the birth, life, death and rebirth of a plant. “I was fascinated to learn that plants communicate with each other through the air, releasing odorous chemicals, and through the soil, secreting soluble chemicals,” Eckemoff says. “Such communal living fired my imagination. I began to imagine how a single plant would feel as part of such an interconnected community and how it would react to its neighbors living next to it.” The recordings were made in Helsinki in the summer of 2019 and are filled with vibrant, lively music that features experimental and psychedelic textures, as well as modern jazz structures, of course. “I was moved to make this recording as a response to our turbulent times,” says the pianist. “I believe that nothing is more important than for all earthly beings to find a way to live peacefully side by side in the same community. The characters in my story may have disagreements with each other, but in the end they always find a way to coexist together on the same property.” Text Rolf Thomas
Yelena Eckemoff Geschichte einer Wildblume
Die russische Pianistin und Komponistin Yelena Eckemoff erfüllte sich vor 30 Jahren einen Traum, als sie in die USA übersiedelte, um den Jazz in seinem Ursprungsland zu erkunden. Seitdem hat sie mit Musikern wie Peter Erskine, Mark Turner, Jon Christensen, Joey Baron, Chris Potter und Billy Hart zusammengearbeitet. Auf ihrem neuen Doppelalbum „Adventures Of The Wildflower” (L&H/inakustik) spielt sie mit einem finnischen Quintett, zu dem der Vibrafonist Panu Savolainen, der Bassist Antti Lötjönen und der Schlagzeuger Olavi Louhivuori gehören. Saxofonist Jukka Perku und der Gitarrist Jarmo Saari, der außerdem Theremin und Glasharfe spielt, machen das Ensemble komplett.
Begleitet von 18 Gedichten, die man im Booklet nachlesen kann, erzählen die 18 Songs von Geburt, Leben, Tod und Wiedergeburt einer Pflanze. „Ich war fasziniert zu erfahren, dass Pflanzen über die Luft miteinander kommunizieren, indem sie geruchsintensive Chemikalien freisetzen, und über den Boden, indem sie lösliche Chemikalien absondern”, erzählt Eckemoff. „Solch ein Gemeinschaftsleben beflügelt meine Fantasie. Ich begann, mir vorzustellen, wie sich eine einzelne Pflanze als Teil einer solchen vernetzten Gemeinschaft fühlen würde und wie sie auf ihre Nachbarn, die neben ihr leben, reagieren würde.” Die Aufnahmen entstanden im Sommer 2019 in Helsinki und sind von einer pulsierenden, lebendigen Musik erfüllt, in der experimentelle und psychedelische Texturen eine Rolle spielen, aber natürlich auch Strukturen des Modern Jazz. „Ich war bewegt davon, diese Aufnahme als Antwort auf unsere turbulenten Zeiten zu machen”, sagt die Pianistin. „Ich glaube, dass nichts wichtiger ist, als dass alle irdischen Wesen einen Weg fänden, friedlich nebeneinander in derselben Gemeinschaft zusammenzuleben. Die Figuren in meiner Geschichte mögen zwar Meinungsverschiedenheiten miteinander haben, aber am Ende finden sie immer einen Weg, um gemeinsam auf demselben Grundstück zu koexistieren.” Text Rolf Thomas
I love Yelena’s new album “Adventures of the Wildflower” – a beautiful work with poetic stories, illustrations, design, and so much love and thought with every note she plays. Her piano playing technique is outstanding with the pianist left hand roaming the keys with exceptional skill, distinctive changes, and the right hand skipping out into the unknown with joyous affect. Her orchestration is unique, very clever, never a cliche. I love all her arrangements which blend together the vibes and piano and subtle effects used by Theremin, Glass harp and Guitar. All the band members are highly skilled virtuosic jazz musicians weaving together with love in the making of this album, the sound quality is superb. Yelena creates wonderful music, stories and paintings taking us on a journey through the seasons of everyday life, nature, family, all creatures great and small, with all her close observations to inspire, a true prolific jazz musician and composer….I feel enlightened.