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Album Review

Rachel Eckroth: The Garden

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Rachel Eckroth: The Garden
Pianist and composer Rachel Eckroth travels a twisty road on this CD, creating an ever-changing mix of jazz, prog rock, and fusion which utilizes off- center beats and swarming electronic effects.

Eckroth's music is a little different on each track. Sometimes it builds up from layers of piano and synthesizers. At other times it works out of the basic piano trio format. Everything she creates, though, has an edgy, ominous atmosphere which lends itself as much to dark pop sounds as it does jazz improvisation. The agitated "Low Hanging Fruit" is mostly a combination of jagged piano riffs and quick-firing drums by Christian Euman while "Dried Up Roots" is a vocal piece with a desolate melody and echoing atmosphere which fits Eckroth's soulfully haunted singing.

Several tracks benefit from the added presence of saxophonist Donny McCaslin who has worked in a similar strain of cranky electric jazz- rock. He blows hard tenor against the sweeping synthesizer sounds and prickly beats of "Dracaena," adds soothing flute to the airy flow of "The Garden," and folds nicely overall into the electronic breeziness of "Black Eyed Susan" and crushing prog heaviness of "Oil."

Eckroth proves to be just as inventive when working in a conventional small group configuration as she is on the more elaborate pieces. "Vines" is a trio track where her keyboard playing evokes the hip freedom of Paul Bley's electric experiments, over a lively rhythmic jog provided by Euman and bassist Tim Lefebvre. On "Under A Fig Tree" the trio lays down a relentless climbing beat while Andrew Krasilnikov's soprano sax blows warily but passionately over them.

Rachel Eckroth's music has many facets to it. Its atmosphere, moodiness, and basic rhythmic sense make for an eclectic and attractive stew of varied sounds. It has a haunting presence which lingers in your head and is fun to listen to.

Track Listing

Dracena; Under the Fig Tree; Low Hanging Fruit; Dried Up Roots; The Garden; Black Eyed Susan; Vines; Oil.

Personnel

Rachel Eckroth: piano; Tim Lefebvre: bass; Christian Euman: drums; Donny McCaslin: saxophone, tenor; Andrew Krasilnikov: saxophone; Austin White: synthesizer; Nir Felder: guitar.

Album information

Title: The Garden | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Rainy Days Records


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