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Eberhard Weber: Positive Pragmatism

John Kelman By

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"This has not, however, been planned out for the second album," Weber says. "I would have to find space in case I wanted to ask somebody else to play again. On the other hand, I've never liked to repeat myself too often. So the big question now is having enough ideas; I'm sure Jan would volunteer to play another piece for me on a new album, but the real question is whether I should do it. I've given it some time for thought. When I publish that, there is a second album ready; it might be thought that Jan has already played on tracks that weren't used on Résumé, which is not the case. Anyway, it's very open, and I haven't decided yet; we're going to wait at least one more year, as I don't want to overdo it."

The other guest on Résumé is Michael DiPasqua, a drummer who was quite active on ECM in the 1980s, appearing on Garbarek's Wayfarer (ECM, 1983) and It's OK to listen to the gray voice (ECM, 1984) (on which Weber also performed) as well as Weber's Later That Evening (ECM, 1985)—with guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Lyle Mays and multi-reedist Paul McCandless—which stands out as one of the bassist's finest group records after the dissolution of Colours, a milestone in a career filled with milestones. But following his flurry of activity in the mid-'80s, DiPasqua disappeared from sight until Endless Days (ECM, 2002), Weber's first group recording since his 1985 trio recording, Chorus.

"Mike gave up playing," Weber explains. "He married an Austrian woman, the two of them wanted to stay together, and he didn't want to be on the road anymore for private reasons, so at some point he gave up playing because he inherited The Subway chain for Florida from his father. So he now controls the majority of Subway restaurants in Florida; in other words, we don't have to play a benefit concert for him, that's for sure [laughs].

"We'd fallen out of touch," Weber continues, "only speaking rarely, and at some point I thought, 'Hmm, I like his playing a lot,' so I contacted him, and I spoke to his wife, and she said, 'Oh yeah, he misses playing.' She even said that if Jan needed another drummer, he would practice like hell and play again because he really did miss it. He was a great drummer, and I reactivated him for Endless Days. He hadn't played for 14 years, and he told me that he practiced a lot for that session. But he also said he was frustrated because in 14 years, you lose a lot of technical ability; but I thought that he managed to do it all really nicely.

"And then I thought, again, why shouldn't I ask them to play on Résumé," Weber continues. "He said, 'Yes, I can try,' but in the end, it's been even longer since he last played. Now he is saying that he doesn't think he will continue playing. He realizes now that the young drummers, they play the hell out of the drum set, and he just can't keep up with them."

And it's a shame, because DiPasqua may not have the chops of some of the young up- and-comers, but he had/has a touch that made him not only the ideal player back in the '80s but also the perfect choice to add some percussion work to Résumé's up- tempo "Bochum" and more ethereal yet still grounded "Lasize." "Michael may not have the chops he had 20 years ago," Weber concludes, "but the musicality is still there, and you can hear it on the record—the experience."

Much of Résumé was done in Weber's home studio, with Garbarek and DiPasqua's contributions coming in as files recorded in their own home studios. "I did everything at home," says Weber. "I did a rough mix for myself, but I know my equipment is not good enough to be professional. So I asked Manfred to take my hard disk to a real studio where it could be mixed professionally. So we were in the studio together; Manfred was there—even Michael was there—and we all mixed it together. Mike stayed with me because I have a guest room in my house. And then he went home."

Ralph Towner—SolsticeBut if Weber has been forced to face the inevitable consequences of aging, so, too, has the considerably younger DiPasqua, who will just be turning 60 later this year. "Now comes another sad story," says Weber. "Mike went home, and we talked about staying in contact, but I didn't hear from him anymore, and I wondered what was wrong. I wrote e-mails that he didn't answer. Slowly, after little while, he wrote that he was with his wife in the Caribbean, and he had a heart attack. Actually, his wife informed me that Mike suffered from several heart attacks, and he was reanimated something like five times. He's much better now. They rescued him, but he died five times. Some people seem to think that the dying process is not so bad—you see the light at the end of the tunnel or whatever. Mike said that he did notice he was dead five times; he said he obviously realized he was going to die and says it was an experience he would not recommend [laughs]."


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