Mike Greenblatt for The Aquarian
Yelena Eckemoff lives In the Shadow of a Cloud. She’s an amazing woman. Leaving her country, her job, her family and her safe secure life in Russia to emigrate to North Carolina with her husband in 1991, she’s put out 11 CDs, starting out classical and ending up jazz. She’s a pianist, composer, label owner, (her own L&H Productions), band leader, producer and arranger. She painted the beautiful painting that graces the cover. She wrote a poem for each of the 14 tracks on this sumptuous two-CD set that fills a 28-page accompanying booklet. She recruited masters for each instrument yet they all coalesce into a cohesive whole: prime New York in-demand cats like Chris Potter on reeds and flute, Adam Rogers on guitar, Drew Gress on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums. Tough to pick a highlight when every single track is so engrossing, but “Acorn Figures,” like the liner notes say, is a “jazz sonata for quartet.” Her classical motifs have never left her, and this makes her latest project oh so delectable.