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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Silke Ebherhard Trio - Being (Jazzwerkstadt, 2008) ****

I got to know Silke Eberhard from her duo recording with Aki Takase, playing Ornette Coleman's music. She now releases her new trio album, "Being", with Jan Roder on bass and Kay Lübke on drums. Eberhard herself switches between alto sax and clarinet. Her mastery of both instruments is impressive, but so is her take on music : it is fun, it is light-footed, rhythmically and structurally complex, emotional and technically superb. Eberhard is familiar with jazz history, and starting from swing jazz clarinet, over Jimmy Giuffre to more modern players like Rob Brown, covering the whole range, integrating it and turning it into her own miniatures. Her playing is not expansive, but highly sophisticated in its changes of motifs and styles. The first track "Calypso" sets the tone, starting with a high swing it moves toward some free blowing in the middle part, only to fall back in the most natural of ways into the initial tune. All the tracks are highly rhythmic, and that's part of the fun, over which her sax or clarinet sings and dances, mostly without fixed melodies or themes, mostly abstract, yet free as a bird, and that's the other part of the fun. Even the slower tracks, such as "Rockballade No 51", keep that abstract compositional level, and stay away from cheap sentiments. "Waxing Moon" is a pure avant-garde intermezzo, and the 26 seconds long track"Little Hare" could have come from the pen of Ornette Coleman. Fun indeed. The record ends with "I Love Every Human Being", again in full lyrical swing mode, full of lightness and joy. This combination of joy and forward thinking in music is possibly the album's greatest strength. Avant-swing? Avant-bop?

© stef