C. Michael Bailey for Wild Mercury Rhythm

Yelena Eckemoff’s art is motivated by connections and conceptions. Her previous recordings rely on thematic centers, like Better Than Gold And Silver (L&H Production, 2018) and I Am A Stranger In This World (L&H Production, 2022) each based on the Psalms. Romance Of The Moon was inspired by the poetry of the doomed Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca (1898 – 1936). That alone darkens the project with a romance spoken in whispers. Eckenoff completes this picture with an Italian band with trumpeter Paolo Fresu accompanied by guitarist Riccardo Bertuzzi, bassist Lusc Bulgarelli, and drummer Stefano Bagnoli.

This atmospheric release emphasizes gentle melodies that float like smoke on a cool but humid day. Eckemoff’s piano is prominent in the mix and central to the recital. Paolo, playing trumpet and flugelhorn, provides sonic flights of fancy, flashing thoughts that weave through the harmonic lattices of the leader’s compositions. Bertuzzi contributes guitar figures that are soft and subtle as on “Guitar” and sharp and precise as on “Old Lizard” (which has Eckemoff playing electric piano). The effect is vibrant and intoxicating. Eckemoff accomplishes much with Romance Of The Moon, but she is not nearly finished where this path leads her…not by a long shot.