This is the fourth time I listen to Yelena Eckemoff’s leadership works after “Yelena Eckemoff Trio / Glass Song (release of year 2013),” “Yelena Eckemoff Quintet / In the Shadow of a Cloud (2017),” “Yelena Eckemoff / Desert (2018) This is the fourth album I review after “Yelena Eckemoff Quintet / In the Shadow of a Cloud” (each with a separate page). Although Eckemoff’s music is not exactly to my taste, I bought this album  because of the backing members (Eric Harland and Ben Street). I don’t know the name of the other member, Kirk Knuffke on cornet, but I searched on my own blog and found “Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski / Gathering Call (14 years, has a separate page)” and “Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom / Glitter Wolf (1964, see separate page). This is the first time I heard Japanese shakuhachi player Koga Masaru.
The music on this album mainly consists of non-4-beat tunes, but there are also some tunes that develop into 4-beat and free style tunes. As in the previous three albums, Eckemoff seems to have composed the pieces with the members in mind, but her own piano playing was kept to a minimum and Knuffke and Harland played to their heart’s content instead, which was a very nice touch. I think it’s probably because she knows her technical limits, but the depth and  gracefulness of her performance is working. Of course, she can play it as it is, so I don’t feel boring or unsatisfactory, and depending on the song, the electric piano with marimba-like tone and the electric celesta are nice addition to the music. Knuffke and Harland also play actively, as if they are responding to Eckemoff’s expectations, and Street’s solid bass playing, which is almost exclusively backing but switches between wood and electric depending on the song, is also very pleasing. Koga’s shakuhachi, which sounds like a traditional Japanese bamboo flute, blends into the performance without any sense of discomfort.
Although CD1 and CD2 are a total of 89 minutes long, the music is relatively slow, but Harland’s endless ideas and technique, along with his organic drumming with a lot of notes, made it possible to enjoy the whole performance without being bored at all.
In addition to such performances, the recording of this work is, as usual, so well recorded that each instrument sounds so good that I fell in love with it, and the balance is so perfect that I felt it was superb from an audio standpoint.

Rating ★★★★ (4/5)

Original Japanese:

エレーナ・エケモフのリーダー作を聴くのは「Yelena Eckemoff Trio / Glass Song(13年)」「Yelena Eckemoff Quintet / In the Shadow of a Cloud(17年)」「Yelena Eckemoff / Desert(18年)」(各別頁あり)に次いで4枚目。エケモフの音楽性が自分の好みにバッチリというわけではないのだが、本作もバックのメンバー(エリック・ハーランド、ベン・ストリート)に釣られて購入した。他のメンバーでコルネットのカーフ・ナフクは名前を覚えていないけど、自ブログで検索したら「Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski / Gathering Call(14年、別頁あり)」「Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom / Glitter Wolf(19年、別頁あり)」に参加しているのが見つかった。日本人の尺八奏者コガマサルはこれが初聴き。

評価 ★★★★ (4/5)