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Yelena Eckemoff: Grass Catching the Wind

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Upon listening to Grass Catching the Wind‘s spacious, repetitive opening track, “Anticipation of Spring,” you might be tempted to dismiss Yelena Eckemoff as Russia’s answer to George Winston: a new-age noodler obsessed with ostinatos and other ornate curlicues on the piano. But then the sensitive Danish rhythm tandem of bassist Mads Vinding and drummer Morten Lund enters the picture to provide some conversational push-and-pull beneath all that infernal tinkling. Advocates claim Eckemoff is creating a new genre-classical world improv. (I prefer to think of it as doily jazz.) The trio does generate some nice interaction on “Rain Streams” and “Somebody Likes Jogging,” the pensive title track and the ECM-ish “Summer Heat,” the classically flavored “Overcast” and “Sonnet for the Flowers,” but a little of this hyper-delicate stuff goes a long way.

Originally Published