Yelena Eckemoff – Leaving Everything Behind (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 1:19:57 minutes | 1,55 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Booklet, Front Cover | © L & H Production
Russian-born, North Carolina-based composer Yelena Eckemoff consistently releases material that is deeply thought provoking and reflective. This time out, she leads a team with all stars Billy Hart, Ben Street and for added exoticism, violinist Mark Feldman through a collection of originals. Delicately delivered strong material. The songs are impressionistic and filled with water colors of sound.
This quartet is well equipped for the challenge of revitalizing this older material. Violinist and improviser Mark Feldman (John Abercrombie, Uri Caine) is the lead voice, supported by bassist Ben Street (Danilo Pérez, David Virelles, Billy Hart Quartet), returning veteran drummer Billy Hart (appearing on his third Eckemoff recording), and of course the composer on piano. The opener “Prologue” sets the mood with a rubato feel, just piano and drums at first. “Rising From Within” continues with a dramatic motif, followed by a contrasting section that also provides the structure for the solos. “Love Train” is driven by Hart’s vibrant groove, and he even takes a brief solo. The title tune has an especially striking Romantic theme, which Feldman makes the most of. Eckemoff recorded it by herself using piano with MIDI instruments on 2003’s Piano Chronicles I. “Ocean of Pines” also had a prior recording, on 2006’s The Call with the local ensemble Eckemoff led before she began working with international groupings.
In fact that band was the reason for the creation of these arrangements, as Eckemoff worked her old songs into trio, quartet, or quintet versions. For these sessions the improvisational element was further developed by the addition of structured improvisations, and in a few cases (e.g. “Coffee & Thunderstorm,” “Spots of Light,” “Love Train,” and “Hope Lives Eternal”) by inserting free group improvisation. Eckemoff describes her approach this way: “Traditionally, jazz is about extensive improvising on what might even be a simple tune…I provide a comprehensive, carefully thought-through musical framework…at the same time I leave much space in the framework for the creative reading by each band member.” This band embraces both the compositional framework and the improvisational elements, producing a seamless, emotional result.
01 – Prologue
02 – Rising from Within
03 – Mushroom Rain
04 – Coffee & Thunderstorm (Unabridged Version)
05 – Spots of Light
06 – Love Train
07 – Leaving Everything Behind
08 – Hope Lives Eternal
09 – Tears of Tenderness
10 – Ocean of Pines
11 – A Date in Paradise
Yelena Eckemoff – piano
Mark Feldman – violin
Ben Street – double bass
Billy Hart – drums