Review: Eberhard Weber - Resume

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The sound of Eberhard Weber's bass is one of the most distinctive that I have ever heard. He is best known in jazz circles, and his unique tones have graced recordings by Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner, and Jan Garbarek, among others. It was actually through the music of Kate Bush that I first came to hear Weber though. His playing on her Hounds of Love album just knocked me out. No matter what the musical context is, Weber's style remains his, and his alone. His recent ECM disc, Resume may well be the finest collection of "pure" Weber of all.

In comparison to those who play the piano or guitar, recognition for bass players is relatively rare. As Rodney Dangerfield might have put it, "They get no respect." Weber never showboats, and he doesn't need to. His fleet-fingered approach is so remarkable that it simply cannot be ignored. Along with the late Jaco Pastorius, Eberhard Weber is one of the greatest talents to have ever played the bass.

With Resume, Weber's bass is the star. This 12-song set features solos that were recorded while he was playing with the Jan Garbarek Group. Through the magic of technology, he has "sculpted something new" out of the solos, and the results are very impressive. Weber performed somewhere north of a thousand concerts with Garbarek, and he was given the solo spotlight every night.

On Resume, he has reworked some of these solos to create unique, individual compositions all their own. It is a remarkable achievement, and works so well that one would probably never even guess where the tracks originated from, without the background information. From start to finish, there is a flow to this album that has a wonderful inner logic. I found it to be an extremely satisfying listen, and was frequently astonished at the complexity of his playing.

The original performances were recorded between 1990 - 2007, and we are also treated to the flute and saxophone of Garbarek, and the drums of Michael DiPasqua on occasion. The sounds of these old friends are nice to hear, but Weber' bass is most definitely the focus here. He plays with such dexterity that sometimes it is hard to believe that these solos were created spontaneously. You do not even need to be a fan to appreciate the quality of this music, as it is so electrifying.

Reportedly, Weber's health troubles have prevented him from performing of late, which is very sad. His spirit is indomitable though, as this album clearly shows. Resume is a testament to the talent of this fantastic musician.