Eberhard Weber: Résumé

A stroke in 2007 that left him paralyzed on one side curtailed Eberhard Weber’s performing career indefinitely, but title aside, Résumé isn’t exactly a retrospective. It collects a dozen solos Weber performed on his trademark five-string electric double-bass with Jan Garbarek’s group between 1990 and that final year of activity, enhances them via delay and other processing, and transforms those solos into rich, mini-orchestral suites. Garbarek (on saxophone and selje flute) and drummer Michael DiPasqua contribute coloring to Weber’s original improvisations, and between their donations and the manipulations of Weber and the ECM team-Weber calls the technique “reduplication”-the resultant pieces often bear greater resemblance to a string quartet or full band than to a standard bass solo.

Each track bears the name of the city in which it was originally recorded, but the geography has little correlation to the moods. On “Amsterdam,” Weber and DiPasqua float along indecisively initially; Weber progressively turns alternately forceful and coy and ultimately opens it up wide enough to give Garbarek free rein. “Santiago” is more European art-film score than Chilean fire and “Bochum” is seriously funky stuff. Garbarek’s flute on “Bath” flutters from unearthly to ghostlike and elicits from Weber a drone so light as to be almost invisible.

As always, regardless of direction or setting, Weber’s tone is simultaneously audacious and crystalline. Even when he’s wailing away he’s a master of understatement, drilling deeply but never allowing his own skillfulness to become the story. Hopefully Résumé is a placeholder and not a final statement; either way it’s grand.

Originally Published