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Eberhard Weber: Endless Days (2001)

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Eberhard Weber: Endless Days No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In his long-awaited followup to his 1993 solo Pendulum, Eberhard Weber has turned the tables from studio-edit solo improv work to notated small-group composition. Weber's distinctive sound on the upright electric bass earned him a distinct following, especially among fans of understated projects like his late '70s group Colours. His sidemen on Endless Days include musicians he's played with for decades, so naturally there's a strong sense of cohesion. One has the sense that when Weber composed these parts, he had specific musical personalities in mind. Reed player Paul McCandless made his mark early on in the group Oregon; keyboard player Rainer Brüninghaus has worked with Weber since the early '70s, including contributions to Colours; and drummer Michael DiPasqua worked with Weber in the Garbarek Group in the early '80s. Weber lured the drummer out of 14-year retirement for this project, and he offers welcome color to Endless Days.

The opening "Concerto for Bass" offers a delicately textured and starkly melodic feel, with Weber and McCandless playing leading roles. The harmonic backdrop for this piece, and most of the others, remains relatively static—providing ample room up front for thematic development. Most of the music is composed (and notated), but the sparsely-organized improvisations fit seamlessly into the greater whole. Of particular note are Weber's two related pieces for solo bass, where one gets a sense of his vision for playing "in the moment." Weber's bass work utilizes ambient space and hummable melody to create ethereal, floating sound structures. During group performances, drummer DiPasqua really shines. The drummer has a knack for exploring detail and texture without crowding out the other players. Endless Days occupies a distinct niche in the accumulating body of ECM records with sparse, reverberant sound and stark, often melancholy themes. The "composed" aspect of the record offers a degree of formalism that sets it apart from some of the more improvised music on the label.

Track Listing: Concerto for Bass; French Diary; Solo for Bass; Nuit Blanche; A Walk in the Garrigue; Concerto for Piano; Endless Days; The Last Stage of a Long Journey.

Personnel: Eberhard Weber: bass; Paul McCandless: oboe, french horn, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone; Rainer Brninghaus: piano, keyboards; Michael DiPasqua: drums, percussion.

Record Label: ECM Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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