The Colours of Chloë
Eberhard Weber bass, cello, ocarina
Rainer Brüninghaus piano, synthesizer
Peter Giger drums, percussion
Ralf Hübner drums
Ack van Rooyen fluegelhorn
Cellos of the Südfunk Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart
Recorded December 1973 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg
Engineers: K. Rapp and M. Wieland
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Listening to an Eberhard Weber album, one can always count on an immersive experience. This is especially true in his first as frontman. From its enigmatic title and charming cover to its fine musicianship and well-conceived instrumentation, The Colours of Chloë remains an ECM classic and may just be the perfect introductory album for those looking to know why the label was so influential even in its infancy. In a span of 4 compositions and 10 times as many minutes Weber produces a veritable mélange of flavors, textures, and, of course, colors. On that note, “More Colours” gives us just that as Weber’s bass cuts a slow swath of orchestral goodness. The title track features an ethereal ocarina* that swirls into a resplendent piano solo from longtime Weber collaborator Rainer Brüninghaus. “An Evening With Vincent van Ritz” draws from the same palette as the first track, but soon breaks into a run with some inspired drumming and a stellar fluegelhorn solo by Ack van Rooyen, while “No Motion Picture” reprises the spacey feel of the title track and shows Weber at his most profound. Not to be forgotten, Brüninghaus also has some breathing room here and provides some of the more transcendent moments in this all-too-brief journey.
Although a glance at the cover art or lineup may not exactly cry “Jazz!” Weber knows where he and his instrument stand. The music is firmly rooted in the genre’s orthodox structural standby: i.e., a solid thematic framework with plenty of room for improvisation along the way. While compositionally astute, Weber’s greatest strength is his “eye” for sound. His feel for blending instruments is highly idiosyncratic and backed by an obvious passion for music-making. His distinctive combination of bass, piano, percussion, horns, and strings is such that no one instrument or group is ever dominant for too long. Each musician is only as good as his altruism toward the ensemble as a whole. That being said, one cannot help but marvel at Weber’s signature sound at the heart of it all, or at his uncanny playing that walks the line between affirmation and mourning. This album is not to be missed.
*Thanks to Rasmus Sylvester Bryder for this correction.