This is the latest work of Yelena Eckemoff (Moscow native,) whose “Yelena Eckemoff Quintet / In the Shadow of a Cloud” was released last year and was quite good. Because I think it was recorded in 2015, it is between time “Yelena Eckemoff Trio / Glass Song” and “In the Shadow of a Cloud.” Members Arild Andersen and Peter Erskine also participate in “Glass Song.” In this work is also joined Paul McCandless, who develops the performance which is also connected with Oregon, but as with Oregon, it is with higher temperature feeling.

Erskine’s long drum solo appears in the first song, and Andersen is very northern European, his accurate unequal backing and bass solo is coming along, and this all makes me feel like I was happy to buy [the album] as soon as possible. The song is mainly composed of non-4 beats such as some sort of scene (seems to be the theme of the desert,) but it also matches well with McCandless’s musicality and it is a really nice “salt plum.” Eckemoff’s lyrical rich piano in the low register also sounds very nice. In the 2nd and 5th songs, there are free sections in the middle. In the 4th song one can feel the Middle Eastern color, and I received a different impression from Eckemoff I heard so far. And percussion of Erskine that is overdubbed in some songs is also a good accent. There are so many layers, you can just enjoy it enough just listening to each person’s play. Naturally as a band it sounds harmoniously, entertaining with all the songs as good as possible.

Although, to my taste, 74 minutes in total feels feel a bit long. Since there are many similar songs of relaxed tempo, I think that it would be better to cut about three songs to sharpen up the album structure.

In addition to the wonderful imaginative performance, this work is also noteworthy in the goodness of recording. Each musical instrument is recorded very realistically, I did not feel any excessive loudness at all, and I was knocked out just by the goodness of the sound. Since the sound of the Erskine’s solo drums in the first track, it gives me goose bumps (especially when looking at the picture in the jacket, as with the concert of Sadao Watanabe Super Big Band in 2014, I see the use a set of 2 yellow Tamu 2 floors of TAMA.) I will keep this as the best recording candidate this year.

Original Japanese:

昨年リリースされた「Yelena Eckemoff Quintet / In the Shadow of a Cloud(17年、別頁あり)」がなかなか良かったエレーナ・エケモフ(モスクワ出身)の最新作。と思いきや録音は2015年なので、時系列的には「Yelena Eckemoff Trio / Glass Song(12年録音、別頁あり)」と「In the Shadow of a Cloud(16年録音)」の間ということになる。メンバーのアリルド・アンデルセンとピーター・アースキンは、「Glass Song」にも参加。本作ではそこにポール・マッキャンドレスも加わっているだけあって、Oregonにも通じる演奏が展開されているのだが、現在のOregonと同様に温度感は高い方。1曲目からアースキンの長めのドラムソロが用意されているし、アンデルセンのいかにも北欧的で正確無比なバッキングやベースソロも聴き応えがあって、早くも買ってよかったという気分にさせてくれる。楽曲は何らかの情景(砂漠がテーマとなっているようだ)が浮かんでくるような非4ビートが主体となっているけれど、それがまたマッキャンドレスの音楽性ともよくマッチしていて実にいい塩梅だし、肝心のエケモフの抒情性豊かなピアノも聴き応えがたっぷり。2曲目や5曲目では途中からフリーな展開になっていたり、4曲目には中東色も感じられたりして、これまで聴いてきたエケモフとはまた一味違った印象を受ける。それと曲によってはオーバーダブされているアースキンのパーカッションもいいアクセント。これだけのメンバーが揃っているだけあって、各人のプレイを聴いているだけでも充分楽しめるし、当然ながらバンドとしても調和の取れた演奏をしていて、どの曲をとってもいい感じで楽しませてくれる。ただしトータルで74分はちょっと長い気もするけどね。ゆったり目のテンポの似たような曲調が多いので、3曲ぐらいカットした方がメリハリのついたアルバム構成になってよかったのではと思う。