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Monday, March 09, 2015

CD Review: Eberhard Weber – Encore

Eberhard Weber (electric double bass; keyboards); Ack von Rooyen  (flugelhorn)
(Review by Hugh).
Eberhard Weber played electric bass in the Jan Garberek Group in the 1990s and most of the noughties.  For this album, which is a follow on to his 2012 album Résumé, Weber has isolated the bass solos from recordings made at a host of European venues, each of which provides the track title on the CD:  Frankfurt, Konstanz, Cambridge, Rankwell, Langenhagen, Granada, Sevilla, London, Klagenfurt, Bradford, Edinburgh, Hannover, Pamplona. 
Weber has meticulously edited, rearranged and modified the solos with additional keyboard parts which he plays himself.  He is joined on flugelhorn by his old friend, the Dutchman Ack van Rooyen who appeared on Weber's first album Colours of Chloe, 42 years ago.
The original solos were six to ten minutes long and provided transitions between two large blocks of sound in the original concerts.  Weber (now 75) is no longer able to play bass due to a stroke in 2007 and added the keyboard sounds using his one good hand.
The thirteen tracks on this album vary between 2:47 and 4:30.  The album will probably appeal to bass enthusiasts, although Weber played neither double bass nor electric bass, but a “Spezialbass” that was developed by Weber in conjunction with a violin maker.  This was essentially a double bass, but without a sound box.
The result is a melodic continuum and it is difficult to separate the tracks one from another without actually looking at the CD player display.  It is certainly a pleasant sound, particularly with the fine flugelhorn playing of Ack van Rooyen.  Does the CD provide a major new addition to the jazz canon? – well probably not.  This does not detract from the impact that Weber has had on European jazz.  This was celebrated in two concerts in Stuttgart, Weber's home town, on the occasion of his 75th birthday which boasted a stellar line-up including Jan Garbarek, Gary Burton and Pat Metheny and were, by all accounts a night to remember.
The CD was released in the UK on 23 February by ECM (Catalogue Number 4712051.)
Hugh.

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