Pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff’s repertoire of elaborate, ambitious jazz concept recordings reaches a new summit with Lonely Man and His Fish. Released on her L&H Productions label, the double CD set is also a long-form parable, a story of deep affection between a human and his beloved pet. Eckemoff is accompanied by cornetist Kirk Knuffke, flutist Masaru Koga, bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland. Like her previous projects, Lonely Man and His Fish is a triumph of casting, with the titular roles interpreted by unmistakable instrumentalists.
Via his trumpeting on “The Lonely Man,” Kirk Knuffke brings the soul and inner spirit of the Lonely Man to life with empathetic warmth and concentrated feeling, subtly portraying melancholy, affection, remorse, anxiety, and joy without a hint of sentimentality. During “Life in the Pond” Masaru Koga gives a splendid interpretation of the Fish named Spark on the shakuhachi, a Japanese end-blown bamboo flute. Yelena plays the celeste on the title track and on “Dreaming Together” which was the first time she has recorded on anything other than the piano in a studio setting.
Overall, Lonely Man and His Fish is yet another splendid illustrative work of art that Eckemoff and company have brought to life via their masterful musicality. The tone, the moods, emotions, and personal ideas about the subject matter keep this music interesting and worthy of addition to your collection of concept recordings. Check it out.