Once again, jazz pianist and virtuoso Yelena Eckemoff has created a feast for our ears, with this feast taking place at night and in the wild. Yelena chooses animals that typically thrive in the dark hours and crafts musical impressions of them. Her innate depth and understanding of music allows her to represent each critter so that we can actually picture it creeping about in the night, be they hunting, foraging or just gently resting. From the gentle Walkingstick, softly landing near us with grace and delicacy to the ferocity of the mighty Grizzly Bear roaring toward us. Yelena’s brilliance along with the strong, tight bass lines from the legendary veteran Arild Andersen and with the intricate juxtaposition of master drummers Thomas Stronen and Jon Christensen allow us to see and sense the sly Fox in the night, but also the aggressive nature of the mighty Wolf. The sneaky rattlesnake is almost feared behind closed eyes, as well as the sting of the Scorpion. From start to finish, this 2-CD set grabs onto the listener and just refuses to let go, and the anticipation of which of God’s creations will be in the room with us next credits Yelena’s mastery of the piano. Her ability to set a musical stage that brings the listener into the lair, den, hole or tree of each animal is rewarding beyond words. Don’t be surprised, when you get it, to find yourself in Yelena’s forest for many an escape. A higher recommendation I could not make, and Nocturnal Animals leaves me breathless to hear what realm she conquers next.