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Colours by Eberhard Weber

ECM Records presence within jazz, improvisation, neo-classical, world music and other jazz-related genres/hybrids, captured the ears and minds of music adventure seekers, hearkening back to the early 1970’s. The now famous recording aesthetic imparts a resonating foundation, often resembling superbly engineered classical music albums. From 1975 to 1981, German bassist Eberhard Weber emerged as a prominent voice with his Colours band, due to his atypical line of attack and massive sound. His swerving tones and liquefying bass lines, countered many of the era’s slaphappy bass denizens, and others who tried besting the speed of light. Regardless, Weber’s prolific LPs are reproduced here on this three-CD box, complete with an informative booklet authored by Michael Tucker.

Yellow Fields (1976) denotes the first of three Colours albums, where Weber’s prominent bass lines protrude a multipurpose framework, consisting of arcing notes and a massive presence that uncannily does not overpower his band mates. And with veteran modern jazz reedman Charlie Mariano’s prolific soloing, tinged with vocal like attributes, the stage is set for some remarkable music. On soprano sax, Mariano renders lyricism with prophetic overtones, and enjoys a thriving partnership with keyboardist Rainer Bruninghaus. Then all-world drummer Jon Christenson’s swishing cymbals and ever-so-crisp snare patterns work like a charm throughout numerous rhythmic intervals.

These albums offer a polytonal muse framed on many layers, featuring Mariano’s use of indigenous world-music reeds. More importantly, Weber’s compositions age like that proverbial fine wine. A supreme melody-maker, the bassist’s simply devised thematic forays provide a stunning contrast to some of the background complexities. On Silent Feet (1978), Weber’s nimble bass solos restate a given melody-line, as the band induces a bit of chakras via subtle passages built on haunting, yet harmonically appealing motifs. Moreover, the quartet ups the ante amid gradual ascensions and spiraling solo jaunts by Mariano, and Bruninghaus’ tricking chords and single note phrasings. Consequently, famed Soft Machine drummer John Marshall replaces Christenson here and on Little Movements (1980).

The quartet delves into otherworldly frameworks on Little Movements. They embark upon a vast musical plane, sparked with tender voicings and introspective patterns, reformed into powerful crescendos and drifting themes. For example, on "Bali," Brunginghaus’ ostinato piano and synth clusters set the stage for Marshall’s polyrhythmic flurries. Yet, on other pieces, the artists generate atmospheric mosaics that skirt the fringes of progressive-rock while propagating a spirited sense of adventure.

Then and now, Weber’s music borders on many musical avenues and is firmly-entrenched in the creative zone. But the breath or scope of his compositions stand tall to this day. Overall, the music captures the essence of ECM Records’ manifesto, coupled with superior artists who paved the way for a substantial portion of today’s progressive-minded jazz. Hence, file this box-set under the magnum opus category.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Eberhard Weber
  • CD Title: Colours
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Reissue Original Release: 1976, 1978, 1980
  • Record Label: ECM
  • Musicians: Eberhard Weber (bass), Rainer Brüninghaus (keyboards, piano, synthesizer), Charlie Mariano: soprano saxophone, nagaswaram, flutes), Jon Christensen (drums), John Marshall (drums, percussion)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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