Doug Ramsey for Arts Journal

Cleaver joins pianist Yelena Eckemoff in this impressive two-CD album of original compositions. Now a New Yorker, the Russian-born Eckemoff includes, along with Cleaver on drums, three more of the city’s most prominent jazz artists; saxophonist/flutist Chris Potter, guitarist Adam Rogers and bassist Drew Gress. As in Blooming Tall Phlox earlier in 2017 and several other albums on her L&H label, Eckemoff’s classical training is apparent in her playing and in the impeccable construction of compositions recalling her life and family in Russia. Her continuing collaborations with leading American and European musicians reflect her status in the jazz community. That was as true of the acceptance and enthusiasm of the four young Finns who joined her for Blooming Tall Phlox as it is for the US stars of this new Eckemoff venture. 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.