Eberhard Weber - Résumé
(ECM 370 9457. CD Review by Chris Parker)
As anyone who’s experienced the live performances of Eberhard Weber – either in his own solo concerts, or in the feature slots of Jan Garbarek Group sets – will already know, the virtuoso German bassist is capable of producing an astonishing range of textures (and emotions) with his unaccompanied customised electric bass.
Here, he has collected some of the latter category of performance, edited out what he calls the ‘pragmatic, transitional’ elements (replacing them with ‘aphorisms, small surprises and colours with the addition of other instruments’), and arranged the resulting pieces (named after the places where the original concerts were held) into a twelve-track album. If this seems (and is) a little contrived, it is arguably no more so than Weber’s usual live act, which revolves around his exploitation of (chiefly) the ‘reverb’ unit, which records his live bass, then plays it back to allow him to improvise over the loops thus created.
And given that this album features specially recorded contributions from Jan Garbarek (flute, soprano and tenor) and Michael DiPasqua (drums, percussion), there is enough ‘new’ music here to intrigue the most sceptical listener. Moods range from plaintive and languorous to fiercely robust, textures from smoothly plucked (almost caressed) sounds to harsher, arco work, so that, overall, Weber’s aim (‘to present sounds whereby virtually no one would think that they came from that deep, low instrument … Workable colouration, inventing fascinating sounds: those were my goals’) is achieved.
An intelligent and unusual use of live-recording riches from the vaults, of which ECM seems to have almost an embarrassment.