CD Review: Eberhard Weber

Colours (ECM)

The CDs in this box — Yellow Fields, Silent Feet and Little Movements — collect out-of-print work by the German double-bass virtuoso Eberhard Weber and his exceptional chamber-jazz band. Each consists of long, lyrical works, almost all by Weber, a founding architect of the ECM sound: quiet, melodic, patient, almost classical in its austere elegance. Analyzing each track isn't necessary. Experiencing them is. The material was recorded between 1975 and 1980 and features Boston windmaster Charlie Mariano on saxes, flutes and instruments more exotic; rhapsodic pianist Rainer Brüninghaus; drummers Jon Christensen and John Marshall; and Weber himself, a master of the long line, of the arco highlight and ostinato (the repetition of a brief phrase). Sparked by insistent Brüninghaus figures, Little Movements might be viewed as a kind of ostinato pun. In the '70s, ECM records (all vinyl then) made jazz synonymous with subtlety. Subtle doesn't mean boring, however. These tracks — leisurely, demanding, definitively empathetic — are complicated and soothing at the same time, proving jazz needn't be smooth to be seductive.

Carlo Wolff

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