Pierre Favre: Window Steps (ECM 1584)

Pierre Favre
Window Steps

Kenny Wheeler trumpet and fluegelhorn
Roberto Ottaviano soprano saxophone
David Darling cello
Steve Swallow bass
Pierre Favre drums, percussion
Recorded April 1995 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Yet another inspired coming together, as could only have occurred under ECM producer Manfred Eicher’s purview, Window Steps plants percussionist Pierre Favre among a crop of wonderful musicians, casting us into an altered state from note one and holding us there until the last. Cellist David Darling makes a welcome appearance, exuding aquatic songs alongside soprano saxophonist Robert Ottaviano over tender ostinatos from bassist Steve Swallow. Trumpeter Kenny Wheeler gilds this mosaic with surprisingly warm strains in “Snow.” Favre’s presence is limited in this opening piece to an undulating current of cymbals, bringing more forthright drumming only in “Cold Nose,” which after a resounding call unleashes guitar-like storytelling from Swallow. Metal is the reigning element of “Lea,” which cuts a winding path of breath through a soft and sultry theme. Wheeler and Ottaviano are notably bonded here, spinning around Darling’s filamented core. What begins as a reverie in “Girimella” turns into a jazzy ride, adding a twinge of excitement to an otherwise sustained program. Stepping through a droning neap tide of beauty, we come to the final “Passage,” carrying us out like a wooden boat on dark waters, across which we drift into the land of nod.

A quiet album for quiet days, relic from some forgotten shore, washed up to our feet in hopes that we might reach down and touch the dreams we’ve missing.

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