A musician like Yelena Eckemoff comes once in a lifetime – if at all. Ceased by a boundless imagination that is expressed in prodigious musicianship and pianism, in painting, and poetry, Miss Eckemoff has also proved beyond doubt that she has also been born with the Gift for Discernment. She proves all of the above once again on Colors, an hour and ten minute journey through what can only be described as a musical vortex through which she turns sound into colour (and texture), and vice-versa, fleshing both with out with – as ever – poems that are so sensual that reading them whilst listening to the music gives one the feeling of rolling in raw silk. Moreover, just to clarify Miss Eckemoff’s Gift of Discernment she has on this disc delivered a miracle in the form of sharing this music not just in duet with a drummer, but that too with the inimitable Manu Katché.
There are few musicians who seem to transcend time and school (of music) – in other words a period in history, telescoping everything from the distant past to the distant future in a collection of music. On Colors Miss Eckemoff simply picks up where she left off which appears to be sometime in days of future-past. And as with every preceding recording she has reached a new pinnacle of her compositional and pianistic powers, as if scaling a newer and greater height in her visionary career. Through it all her vivid imagination creates joyously work which is always rooted in idiomatically concrete nature. On Colors she seems to place herself in each piece inside a particular pigment. Magically then she emerges engaging you with a dancing personification of each colour, examining it from the inside out as if it had flesh and blood and palpitated with a heart of its own.
“White”, for instance emerges like a child pirouetting with evanescent joy. “Pink” rises like the body of a ballerina almost nude to touch, complete with the feeling of hot breath brushing tantalizingly past your ear as the pianist teases with the pirouetting melody. The heat is turned up with “Orange” to the extent that the music has an element of raw carnality. “Violet” unfolds in a slow mysterious ballad as if “sung” by a troubadour with a rueful feel. And on and on as we traverse with the pianist and Mr Katché through the myriad colours of this musical palette… Everywhere the music features thoughtful, melodic duets Mr Katché contributing to this music with what can only be described as rhythmic mysticism as he responds telepathically to what Miss Eckemoff sometimes barely suggests. Both musicians continue to ceaselessly ring in the changes in moo, structure and tempo, making for a constantly miraculous programme.
Once again Miss Eckemoff – this time together with Mr Katché – brings a considerable degree of balance and integration of melody, harmony and rhythm, of composition and improvisation, of exploration, individuality and tradition impressively maintaining and controlling it all throughout another mystic recording; this one like the one before and before that one, a suite of music captured once again in detail and warmth by incomparable engineering wizardry of Rich Breen; a record to absolutely die for.
Track list – 1: White; 2: Pink: 3: Orange; 4: Green: 5: Violet; 6: Indigo; 7: Blue; 8: Red; 9: Brown; 10: Bordeaux; 11: Yellow; 12: Aquamarine; 13: Grey; 14: Black
Personnel – Yelena Eckemoff: piano and compositions; Manu Katché: drums
Released – 2019
Label – L&H Production (cd 806 151-26)
Runtime – 1:10:54