Susan Frances for Jazzreview

The scrolling notes of pianist of Yelena Echemoff embroider imagery soundscapes that soothe, excite and entrap the listener in an experience beyond earthly dimensions. Her latest album Flying Steps features Peter Erskine on drums and Darek Oleszkiewicz on double bass, and establishes Echemoff as an engaging pianist and composer of ambient bliss. Tracks like “Promise” and “A Smile” have a sensual gait that incites the listener to drift off into a luxuriating oasis of melodic improvisations. The soft curls and relaxing lunges of Echemoff’s keys in “Good Morning” produced a soothing ambiance, and shift to somber etudes along “For Harry.” The dulcet doodling of her keys through “Isolated” imbues a contemplative lilt changing to an upbeat wandering in “Where Is Maxim?” The pensive waddling of her keys in “Tears Will Come” are supported by light drum taps and deep toned bass notes, which manifest into a hypnotic swagger in “Insomnia” with broad sweeps in Echemoff’s keys. Her music is rooted in classical chamber music concepts and orchestral structures coalesced with pop music-inspired rhythms and influenced by jazz improvisations. Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Yelena Echemoff began playing the piano at four years old. Her mother, Olga was her first piano teacher. Yelena was further educated at the Piano School of the Moscow State Conservatory where she earned a Master’s Degree in piano performance and pedagogy. She worked as a piano teacher for the Moscow Music Schools. She and husband left the Soviet Union and have been living the USA since 1991, where she developed a discography as an independent recording artist adding Flying Steps to her lengthy catalog in 2011.

Rating: Five Stars