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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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EBERHARD WEBER

Encore

ECM 471 2051

 

 

  1. Frankfurt

  2. Konstanz

  3. Cambridge

  4. Rankwell

  5. Langenhagen

  6. Granada

  7. Sevilla

  8. London

  9. Klagenfurt

  10. Bradford

  11. Edinburgh

  12. Hannover

  13. Pamploma

Eberhard Weber - Electric double bass, keyboards

Ack van Rooyen - Flugelhorn (tracks 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12)


As Eberhard Weber points out, in the interview to be found in the booklet which accompanies this CD, he is no longer able to play the five-string 'electro-bass' with which he has been long associated and which he initially developed. The reason for his incapacity is the stroke he suffered in April 2007. This album, like its predecessor Rsum (2012), is based on the solo improvisations of Weber in the live recordings he made with the Jan Garbarek Group before illness brought his bass playing days to an end. He has used them as the foundation on which new compositions have been built, arranging and editing them, then skilfully blending them with his own keyboard backing (one-handed) and with the contribution of his playing partner(s). Weber describes the end product as 'something completely new made from old pieces'. While Rsum had Garbarek (saxophone) and Michael Di Pasqua (drums) alongside Weber, for this recording Ack van Rooyen, the veteran Dutch trumpet and flugelhorn player, was invited to be part of the project. Van Rooyen actually played on Weber's debut album for ECM, The Colours Of Chloe, which was a huge success. 'Now', Weber says, 'he's on what might be my last'. Van Rooyen plays flugelhorn, his preferred instrument on about half the tracks.

Not all the tracks are of the same high quality but there is more than enough of the good stuff here to make this a very fine album indeed. Take Frankfurt, for instance, which, though brief, shows the two musicians to be a satisfying and ingenious combination. Rankwell is even better. Weber has created a strangely haunting composition where the deep notes of his bass are complemented by his keyboard work, and by the beautiful ambience evoked by van Rooyen. London features Weber on his own and a vigorous, emphatic performance it is, too. Hannover is an infectious number but that is also true of the lively foot-tapper Pamplona. One of the major reasons Eberhard Weber developed the electro-bass was to extend the range and penetration of the conventional bass. The cello was his first instrument and on Pamplona his playing reminds us of that. The disc as a whole reminds us of the former versatility on the electro-bass of this great musician, and of his ability still, despite adversity, to produce distinctive and original music. It is commonly said that when life serves you a lemon, you should make lemonade. Weber's response was to produce vintage champagne! Oh, and by the way, van Rooyen was an inspired choice as a musical partner. Warmly recommended.

James Poore



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