George W. Harris for Jazz Weekly
title: SELAH…Yelena Eckemoff: I Am A Stranger In This World
I have yet to hear an album by pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff that hasn’t hit me right in my soul. She has created a catalogue of albums focusing on various themes, from times of the year to food. This time around, she re-visits her treatment of various Biblical Psalms and gives them instrumental interpretations to mix the mood of The Great Davidic Songbook.
Eckemoff is joined by all stars Ralph Alessi/tp, Adam Rogers/g, Drew Gress/b, Christian Howes/v, Ben Monder/g, Joey Baron/dr and Nasheet Waits/dr in mix and match fashion. The moods range from Howe yearning on “Every Beast of the Field” to reflective piano on “The Wine of Astonishment”. The keys get dark for Alessi on “Keep Not Your Silence” while Rogers gets bluesy for “Lighten My Eyes” and folksy for “ Truth In His Heart”. Soulful penetrating harmonies get funky with Waits for “At Midnight I Will Rise” and the team goes post bopping on “Make Haste to Help Me”. You don’t need to know the words of the Psalms for these instrumentals, but the songs let us know that we could use them for our own pilgrimage. Inspired inspirations.