366

Yelena Eckemoff: Cold Sun

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Cold Sun could readily be considered as a concept album, if that term hadn't been so abused over the years. Pianist Yelena Eckemoff has taken her inspiration for these ten original tunes from the winter season—perhaps in her native Russia, perhaps from her adopted homeland of North Carolina—and conjures up many different images of winter in her sparse and delicate trio arrangements. The starkly beautiful photographs on the CD cover give a clear indication of the music within, while the crystal clear production—sound engineer Rich Breen deserves a name check for this—means that each instrument comes across perfectly.

Other reviewers have alluded to the ECM-like qualities of this album, and the comparison has merit: the young Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski is an obvious point of reference, for example. Eckemoff, who has recorded classical as well as jazz albums, plays with a delicate touch: each note counts, none is wasted. Drummer Peter Erskine and bassist Mads Vinding make an experienced and exceptionally sympathetic team: Vinding also appears on Eckemoff's Grass Catching The Wind (L&H Production, 2010), which is inspired by spring, summer and fall. Erskine and Vinding play with similar delicacy and economy, resisting the temptation to add too much even in their occasional solos or in the more improvised passages. The trio offers a master class in the use of space, of which many younger players would do well to take note.

"Winter," at nearly 14 minutes the album's longest track, blends passages of great beauty with some of Eckemoff's most assertive playing, although she stops well short of aggression. The interplay between the three musicians is fascinating and, like much of this recording, reveals more of itself on each listening. The tune, along with "Cold Sun," suggests complex and dissonant feelings in contrast to the generally brighter and more optimistic tone of the rest of the music.

That optimism is exemplified by the upbeat "Stubborn" which opens with Vinding's superb bass sound—round, fat, slinky, it's one of the most gorgeous double-bass tones in jazz—accompanied by Erskine's funky brush work. Eckemoff adds some stabbing piano lines and the trio gets under way with the album's most immediately engaging composition. By contrast, "Romance by the Fireplace" is a delightfully seductive late-night tune, with Vinding playing the lead line as Eckemoff and Erskine create a swinging groove. The remaining tunes bring yet more images of winter to the fore with all three musicians proving themselves to be crucial to the overall mood: the exception being the solo piano piece "Snow Bliss," which Eckemoff plays in a meditative and reflective style.

Winter might well be the inspiration, but the music on Cold Sun is strangely warm and comforting as well as beautiful.

Track Listing: Cold Sun; After Blizzard; Scents of Christmas; Silence; Stubborn; Freezing Point; Romance by the Fireplace; White Magic; Snow Bliss; Winter.

Personnel: Yelena Eckemoff: piano; Mads Vinding: double-bass; Peter Erskine: drums.

Title: Cold Sun | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: L & H Production


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Forage" CD/LP/Track Review Forage
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "En Corps Generation" CD/LP/Track Review En Corps Generation
by John Sharpe
Published: August 1, 2017
Read "My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute To Horace Parlan" CD/LP/Track Review My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute To Horace Parlan
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Soul Garden" CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Each Edge of the Field" CD/LP/Track Review Each Edge of the Field
by John Eyles
Published: July 4, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.