Eberhard Weber: Endless Days (ECM 1748)

Endless Days

Eberhard Weber
Endless Days

Eberhard Weber bass
Paul McCandless oboe, english horn, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone
Rainer Brüninghaus piano, keyboards
Michael DiPasqua drums, percussion
Recorded April 2000 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Electric bassist Eberhard Weber, one of the most recognizable depth-sounders of European improvisation, with Endless Days continues the journey charted so boldly across ECM’s fertile map. True to form, he breaks the jazz mold that searches him, instead making use of orchestral sweeps and precisely notated forms. Solos, per se, are few and far between. The only exceptions are “A Walk In The Garrigue” and “Solo For Bass,” the latter of which presages Weber’s sure-to-be-seminal Résumé. With liquid touch, he dances, turns on a molecule, and settles into warmth.

The instrumentation of Endless Days is as intimate as its sound is expansive. Multi-reedist Paul McCandless, keyboardist Rainer Brüninghaus, and percussionist Michael DiPasqua—all longtime allies—comprise a quartet of unveiled lyricism. The seesawing keys of “Concerto For Bass” fade in on a lush vista as only Weber can articulate. Skittering percussion hurtles us across a tessellation of water and land as an oboe cranes its neck, birdlike, in anticipation of a storm. A soft keyboard drone provides ample soil for Weber’s pliant germinations, which in characteristic fashion build majestic tidal waves from mere ripples in “French Diary.” Here DiPasqua and McCandless flank an itinerant piano to the rhythm of an internal clock before ending in a pinprick of light, adding a new star to the shadows of “Nuit Blanche.” This cinematic piece emotes through a sepia veneer of whisky and unrequited love, dripping like a tree after rain. “Concerto For Piano” brings the band up to full speed. Playful touching of the keys adds unexpected angles. The title track has the makings of a folk song unfolding in real time, fashioning from its cellular vocabulary set a full-bodied text. This program of otherwise new material ends with a throwback to Weber’s Little Movements, reworking from that 1980 album its opening composition, “The Last Stage Of A Long Journey.” Flowing arpeggios float the leaves of Brüninghaus’s pianism along an unbroken river and find their angelic alter ego in McCandless, whose soprano saxophone draws a thread from heart to ritual.

Eternally refreshing in Weber’s work is the comfort that titles are immaterial—so evocative is his sound-world that it tells us a different story every time, a story so familiar it seems to emanate from the listener. All that’s left to ask: What stories will it convey to you?

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