12

Yelena Eckemoff: Adventures of the Wildflower

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Yelena Eckemoff: Adventures of the Wildflower
The last time composer/pianist Yelena Eckemoff recorded in Finland she led a quintet on Blooming Tall Phlox (L&H Production, 2017). The program was devoted to smells, particularly the phlox flower and other scents remembered from childhood. Here she returns to Finland with a sextet (including several returning players, basically the entire rhythm section) and a related concept: the life cycle of a wildflower. The mood of the music is well captured in the smiling band photo on the back of the CD. There is a lightness here that has been rare on recent recordings like Nocturnal Animals (L&H Production, 2020) and Better Than Gold And Silver (L&H Production, 2018)—an unsurprising side effect of the austere instrumentation of the first and the heavy theme of the second.

"In the Ground" opens the set with new recruit Jarmo Saari's haunting theremin melody; he also contributes a lovely over driven guitar solo, leading into Panu Savolainen's vibraphone solo. "Dog Chasing a Mouse" introduces the other new player, saxophonist Jukka Perko, whose swinging soprano saxophone moves between playing Eckemoff's composed lines and improvising his own. Perko's role is a bit less prominent than would usually be expected in an ensemble like this. In fact most of the tracks are quintets rather than sextets. On "Home By The Fence" the saxophone's role is restricted to a few naturalistic sound effects; and "Chickens" finds guitar and saxophone sharing the solo role, with the vibraphone sitting out. It includes a section with a rare foray into what sounds like very free playing.

"Drought" ends with an atmospheric section that is reminiscent of early Weather Report. But "Winter Slumber" opens with a distinctive acoustic sound, in the form of Saari's glass harp. His volume-swells lead into a lyrical piano solo, followed by a vibraphone solo, guitar solo and double bass solo—a lovely showcase for most of the rhythm section. "Warming Up in the Spring" returns the focus to soprano saxophone, along with guitar. "Hummingbirds" returns to a guitar/vibraphone texture, while "Children Playing With Seed Pods" is contrapuntal in an almost Baroque fashion. Closer "Baby Columbine" returns to the eerie theremin voice of the opener, and uses the entire sextet to bring the wildflower life cycle to a triumphant conclusion.

Track Listing

CD1: In the Ground; Germination; Weeding The Garden; Dog Chasing A Mouse; Rain; Home By The Fence; Chickens; Drought; Thundershower. CD2: Winter Slumber; Waking Up In the Spring; Buds And Flowers; Butterflies; Hummingbirds; Children Playing With Seed Pods; Dying; Another Winter; Baby Columbines.

Personnel

Yelena Eckemoff: piano; Jukka Perko: saxophone; Jarmo Saari: guitar, electric; Panu Savolainen: vibraphone; Antti Lotjonen: bass, acoustic; Olavi Louhivuori : drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Jarmo Saari: glass harp, theremin, guitar.

Album information

Title: Adventures of the Wildflower | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: L & H Production

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Blessings and Blues
Neil Gonsalves Trio
Socially Distanced Duos
Jeff Pearring/Pearring Sound
Reels
Matthew Shipp / Whit Dickey
Dreamsing
Rachel Musson
Invisible Words
Falkner Evans
Soundscapes
Bob Mintzer & WDR Big Band Cologne
Another Land
Dave Holland

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.