Paul Weideman for Santa Fe New Mexican
Although Russia-born pianist Yelena Eckemoff was trained in classical music and studied jazz, rock, world music, and electronic music, Glass Song is her fifth acoustic trio album in three years; all five feature original Eckemoff compositions. In the Glass Song liner notes, she augments each tune with poetic stanzas, such as this snippet about the wonderfully moody title track: “Ethereal beauty of the Glass Kingdom is so hypnotic that once you enter, it makes you wish to lose yourself in there forever.” The opener, “Melting Ice,” is by turns cool, delicate, improvisationally jazzy, staid, and romantic. In the intro to “Cloud Break,” bassist Arild Andersen improvises, thrumming richly and grandly over a three-note unison pulse from the piano and Peter Erskine’s cymbals. The main part of the song is a multidimensional display, the three players weaving in and out and taking turns in bright engagementHere and there is undeniably juicy creativity, the three not avoiding angularity or volume, but they also sustain an aura of peace. From the title of “Dripping Icicles,” we would expect to experience chilling, cave-like placidities. Instead, Eckemoff and her cohorts approach jollity; the pianist further demonstrates the great variety of expression she has at her fingertips; and the music swings. Each of Glass Song’s 10 tracks is pretty, powerful, and eminently listenable.