Bassist Eberhard Weber has had a long recording career with ECM Records, dating back to 1970. His first album as a leader, The Colours of Chloe (ECM, 1974), helped to define the sound and essence of the ECM persona. His series of absorbing and innovative albums has continued through to Endless Days (ECM, 2001).
In 2005, upon reaching his 65th birthday, Weber used the occasion to perform twice with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR). Weber selected a number of his more enduring compositions, rearranged them for the orchestra, also choosing a core quintet.
The core quintet consists of artists he has worked with throughout the years, including vibraphonist Gary Burton; saxophonist Jan Garbarek, percussionist Marilyn Mazur and pianist Rainer Bruninghaus. Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, who guests on one track, goes back to Weber's student years in the early 1960s, during which time they worked frequently as a duo.
The musical performance by the SWR Orchestra and Weber's quintet encapsulates Weber's productive years as composer and leader, and is a nostalgic chance for his enthusiasts to experience his music in a new context.
The opening "Silent Feet" begins as a classical, then folkish tune before handing it off to Garbarek's bracing soprano sax. Weber utilizes a custom built electro-acoustic bass, which gives him extended range, and demonstrates how mesmerizing it can be on Carla Bley's "Syndrome. Burton's vibes provide the underpinning for Bruninghaus' keyboard work, with Garbarek right behind for a steamy tenor sax statement.
Weber engages in a low-key duet with Dauner on Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays," followed by another duet, this time with Garbarek, on his own "Seven Movements, where the two chase each other around like two butterflies in search of a nesting place.
The second half of the album is largely devoted to a five-part "Birthday Suite," beginning with Weber's popular "The Colours of Chloe. The bassist demonstrates that time has not altered the beauty of this composition as Burton, Bruninghaus and Garbarek equally demonstrate that they have not lost their creative interpretative skills. This selection is a fine example of the entire album, which provides a window into how beautiful classically themed material can intertwine with the work of jazz soloists.
Track Listing: Silent Feet: Syndrome; Yesterdays; Seven Movements; Birthday Suite: The Colours of Chloë, Piano Transition, Maurizius, Percussion Transition, Yellow Fields; Hang Around; The Last Stage of a Long Journey; Air.
Personnel: Eberhard Weber: bass (1, 2, 4-12); double bass (3); Gary Burton: vibraphone (1, 2, 5-9, 11); Jan Garbarek: soprano saxophone (1, 4-9, 11); tenor saxophone (2, 5-9); Rainer Bruninghaus: piano (1, 2, 5-9, 11); Marilyn Mazur: percussion (1, 2, 5-9, 11); SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, Roland Kluttig conductor: (1, 5-9, 11); Wolfgang Dauner: piano (3); Nino G.: beatbox (10); Reto Weber: hang (10).
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.