Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

23

Eberhard Weber: Hommage à Eberhard Weber

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Hommage celebrates the 75th birthday of bassist/composer Eberhard Weber. His distinctive custom-built, five-string electro-acoustic upright bass sound has been the foundation of many ECM recordings, almost right from the beginning: as leader of his own groups; longtime sideman for saxophonist Jan Garbarek; and other ECM recording artists including Ralph Towner, Gary Burton, Wolfgang Dauner, Pat Metheny and the Frankfurt Jazz Ensemble. He has been unable to perform since a 2007 stroke, but the first two selections in this live concert recording feature his playing through the use of old tapes.

So he is well-represented as both player and composer. And the group of musicians assembled is like "Old Home Week" for longtime ECM fans, with Weber bringing, in addition to guitarist Metheny, saxophonist Garbarek and vibraphonist Burton, past collaborators Paul McCandless and Danny Gottlieb back to the label for the first time in years.

The program opens with a very familiar sound: Garbarek's soprano saxophone, improvising over Weber's bass on music drawn from Resumé (2012), which Weber assembled using solos recorded during Jan Garbarek Group tours across a quarter century; so, in a way, this performance completes a circle. For "Hommage"—the longest piece on the program, commissioned by the SWR Big Band—Metheny took a similar approach. He used video recordings of Weber's solo improvisations to make him a virtual member of the ensemble (which Metheny describes as "visual sampling"), and based his composition around those improvisations.

Gimmicky as that description may sound, when Weber's bass enters (after a brief textural introduction) it's clear that he is present in the music much as he would have been if playing live. Over the course of just over half an hour, Metheny's composition moves from one musical idea to another, like a suite. Gottlieb's shimmering cymbals are like a time machine recalling Metheny's early years with the label, and Metheny and Burton both contribute elegant solos. One memorable section finds bassist Scott Colley in a virtual bass duet with Weber, a completely natural sounding call-and-response. Weber's taped performance has the last word, closing the piece in a gentle coda.

The rest of the album is devoted to imaginative big band arrangements of Weber tunes drawn from several recordings in his ECM catalog. Weber says "I let them surprise me with choices of pieces they considered usable and inspiring." "Touch" comes from Yellow Fields (1975), with solos from Burton and SWR trombonist Ernst Hutter. "Maurizius," first heard on 1982's Later That Evening, is arranged and conducted by Michael Gibbs and features solos from Burton and McCandless (who appeared on the original recording). The same soloists grace Resumé's "Tübingen," while "Notes After An Evening," from Weber's 1993 solo bass album (albeit with real-time looping) Pendulum, closes the set with its memorable theme reminiscent of the Scottish folk song "The Water is Wide." A lovely ending, it features solos from Burton, McCandless and SWR saxophonist Klaus Graf.

Rarely does a living musician receive such a beautiful tribute. Although there are opportunities lost—Garbarek and Metheny both play only on their own compositions, for example—it's hard to imagine any ECM fan who would not enjoy this recording.

Track Listing: Resumé Variations; Hommage; Touch; Maurizius; Tübingen; Notes After an Evening.

Personnel: Pat Metheny: guitars (2); Jan Garbarek: soprano saxophone (1); Gary Burton: vibraphone (2-7); Paul McCandless: oboe and soprano saxophone (4-7); Scott Colley: double bass (2); Danny Gottlieb: drums (2); SWR Big Band (2-7); Helge Sunde: conductor (2, 3, 5-7); Mike Gibbs: conductor (4).

Title: Hommage à Eberhard Weber | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Black Shuck" CD/LP/Track Review Black Shuck
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Triple Double" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Live at U of T" CD/LP/Track Review Live at U of T
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 7, 2017
Read "As The Wind" CD/LP/Track Review As The Wind
by John Eyles
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Over the Rainbow" CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "There Is No Love" CD/LP/Track Review There Is No Love
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 18, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!