Born in Moscow and a classical pianist from her early years, Yelena Eckemoff trained under [teacher of] Evgeny Kissin and ended up teaching piano and giving concerts. But even then, she was also attending courses at the Moscow Jazz Studio and playing in an experimental jazz-rock band while also composing music both for herself and others. Having moved with her family to the US in 1991, she has been able to develop her career as a teacher, as a classical composer and player – she has an on-going project setting Psalms to music – and, increasing, as a jazz player. In 2010 alone she released three piano trio records, including Cold Sun, with Mads Vinding on bass and Peter Erskine on drums, reviewed here. Now she has a new trio album, recorded this time in Copenhagen with Mats Eilertsen on double bass and Marilyn Mazur on drums and percussion. It’s a magical mix. Yelena Eckemoff writes music which is rich in broader atmospheres than is usual in jazz. She moves easily between composed music with something of a modern, impressionistic classical feel to it, and grooves which are thoroughly jazzy, and there is also that feeling of freshness that comes from different cultures mixing together in the music, just as they do in the musician. Mazur, with her broad palette of sounds is particularly useful, therefore, sometimes playing standard kit, sometimes adding all kinds of exotic percussion sounds, often mixing the two. And Eilertsen, too, with his evocative arco playing as well as original take on plucked walking bass, has just the wide-ranging arsenal of bass sounds Eckemoff needs. Cold Sun had a really icy feel to it, whereas Forget-Me-Not feels springlike – although that may be because as I listen to it the daffodils wave in the breeze outside my window. And spring can be something of a struggle as well as a time of new life – a complex season! The long opener, Resurrection Of A Dream, does indeed start dreamily and semi-connected, as if slowly coming to life. It eventually settles into a quiet driver and sets up the rest of the album really well. Eilertsen is particularly expressive in Maybe before Eckemoff and Mazur enter with a mood not dissimilar to that created by Eilertsen’s other bandleader, Tord Gustavsen. Sand-Glass has a dancing feel to it, somewhere near tango but perhaps much farther north in origin, while Five has all three players intertwining their instruments in an increasingly complex and knotty way, while still maintaining a stately and unified emotional progression. Schubert’s Code builds up a real intensity before shimmering into stillness with a Mazur cymbal and regrouping in free time, while the closer, Welcome A New Day, has a gorgeously subtle underlying swing to it, a kind of cushion on which all three can interact freely, and ends up in a place which you really didn’t expect: dramatic, quite dark, but perfectly logically reached. This is music with that quiet depth that comes from a really rich musical hinterland. Yelena Eckemoff creates a musical environment in which the possibilities for collaborators must seem endless, and all three musicians dig deep to do the music justice. A very fine album indeed.