Brent Black for Critical Jazz
Yelena Eckemoff is a Russian born pianist living permanently in the United States since 1991. Eckemoff has been flying just under the industries musical radar despite having two critically acclaimed releases from 2010 while working with Danish bassist Mads Vinding and drummers Peter Erskine and Morten Lund. Holding a Master’s Degree in piano performance and pedagogy, 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. “Resurrection of a Dream” is a spacious yet methodically developing piece. A mysterious dynamic tension that builds in conjunction with the shifting harmonics is captivating as a slightly more free form approach takes shape within the melody. Mat Eilertsen is a gifted double bassist and former Miles Davis percussionist Marilyn Mazur adds a balance of finesse and subtle nuance that aids in the musical development of the entire release. “Sand-Glass” is a syncopated piece somewhat reminiscent of a more accessible Philip Glass. 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. “Five” showcases Mazur’s master work as one of the most lyrically driven percussionists working today. Eilertsen’s soulful bass work helps push the harmonic ebb and flow of this more emotionally charged sonic exploratory. Eckemoff displays a virtuosity of precision and her deceptive understatement in performance on “Five” allows the trio to function as a cohesive unit with a single harmonious vision.