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Yelena Eckemoff: Nocturnal Animals

Read "Nocturnal Animals" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

"You're busy appearing or you're busy disappearing." Drummer-bandleader Art Blakey may have said that; if he didn't, he should have. Somebody had to express the importance of presenting your work, for getting it out there to an audience. This goes for virtually any artist in any medium. Double down on that for people who create jazz. Pianist Yelena Eckemoff rolls with the “busy appearing" concept. She is prolific; since her debut recording , Cold Sun (L & H, ...

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Jason Palmer, Charlie Rouse, Bennie Moten & More

Read "Jason Palmer, Charlie Rouse, Bennie Moten & More" reviewed by Joe Dimino

This week we start with the well-established and talented Russian-born jazz pianist Yelena Eckemoff and from there we continue to delve into new jazz releases with Jason Palmer and Native Soul. We profile the talented saxophonist Benjamin Boone with work off his CD The Poetry of Jazz Volume 2 featuring the late great poet Phillip Levine. We also keep that poetry mentality going strong with jazz singer Lisa Bernstein paying homage to Cecil Taylor on the one-year anniversary of his ...

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Yelena Eckemoff/Manu Katché: Colors

Read "Colors" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff has produced a varied discography. But since her piano trio album Lions (L&H Production, 2015) she has tended towards larger ensembles. Leaving Everything Behind (L&H, 2016) and Desert (L&H, 2018) were both quartets; Blooming Tall Phlox (L&H, 2017) and In the Shadow of a Cloud (L&H, 2017) were quintets; and Better Than Gold And Silver (L&H, 2018) was a sextet (plus two vocalists for the vocal versions). So this is a surprising move: a duet with drummer ...

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Yelena Eckemoff / Manu Kache: Colors

Read "Colors" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Yelena Eckemoff brings the top drummers into her recording sessions, whether it's Billy Hart on Lions (2014), or Peter Erskine on Glass Song (2012) and Desert (2015), or Jon Christensen for Everblue (2014)--all of these on her own L & H Production label. The year 2019 finds the prolific Eckemoff presenting her first duo album, Colors, a piano and drums affair with another topline partner sitting at the kit: Manu Katche, a distinctive drumming stylist and a ...

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Yelena Eckemoff: Better Than Gold and Silver

Read "Better Than Gold and Silver" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Russian-born pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff began setting verses from the Bible's Book of Psalms shortly after her conversion to Catholicism, even before her emigration to the United States. But she waited until she had considerable experience working with jazz musicians before attempting these jazz arrangements. The first disc in this double disc set presents settings with two vocalists, tenor Tomás Cruz and mezzo-soprano Kim Mayo, accompanied by a remarkable band: trumpeter Ralph Alessi, guitarist Ben Monder, violinist Christian Howes, bassist Drew ...

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Yelena Eckemoff: Desert

Read "Desert" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff was born in Russia and in 2018 lives in North Carolina--neither location suggests a desert theme. But Eckemoff became fascinated by the Arabian Desert, producing not only music but also prose stories connecting the compositions to each other, as well as poetry and paintings (including the album's cover image). Her albums are usually organized around a theme. This one is unusual in having a musical style directly associated with it: so much of this program combines Arabic ...

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Yelena Eckemoff: Desert

Read "Desert" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Yelena Eckemoff's backstory doesn't suggest the potential for a rise to the category of top level jazz pianist. But here she is, after emigrating to the U.S. from Russia with her husband--leaving her children (temporarily) and everything else (permanently) behind in 1991 to escape repression and to start a new life. Classically trained in her homeland, Eckemoff came to jazz relatively late. With persistence, talent, ambition, audacity and a seemingly unshakable optimism, she has navigated her way to the ...


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