Silke Eberhard’s Splendid New CD

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EBERHARD: U11. Strudel. Von a Nach B. Laika’s Descent. Hymne. Zeitlupenbossa. Damenschrank. Stray Around. Yuki Neko / Silke Eberhard, a-sax; Jan Roder, bsl Kay Lübke, dm / Intakt CD 365

Technically speaking, I can’t “review” this recording for one major reason, and that is that I was asked to write the liner notes for it, which I did. But I still feel compelled to mention it in one way or another on this blog for two reasons: 1) it’s extremely good music (if it weren’t, I would never have consented to write the liner notes, for which I refused to accept money) and 2) most American jazz journals and websites completely snub European jazz musicians, acting as if they didn’t even exist.

This is a far cry from the 1950s and ‘60s, when such major European jazz artists as Johnny Dankworth, Jutta Hipp, the Mangelsdorff brothers, Martial Solal, Tubby Hayes and Rolf Ericson were included with open arms. This CD, Eberhard’s fourth with the trio (the first two on the Jazzwekstatt label, the third on Intakt), was recorded both in the studio as well as at a live concert at the A-Trane in Berlin. This was the result of her winning the prestigious Berlin Jazz Prize, which affords the winner the honor of playing a concert and getting one or two days at the Radio Berlin Brandenburg studio. Thus on this disc you hear a seamless blend of studio and live performances.

Without going into as much detail as I did in the liner notes, I’d like to bring your attention to Eberhard as a trio performer simply because she is one of the very few musicians nowadays who dares to follow in the footsteps of the late Eric Dolphy. The difference between them is that Dolphy indulged in a lot of wide-ranging intervals, often leaping up and down his alto and bass clarinet in such a way that he created dissonances simply by not “filling in” the intervening notes, while Eberhard enjoys exploring the notes in between the wide leaps. Occasionally Eberhard does indulge in some overblown playing, yet manages to rein it in and move on to some surprisingly lyrical figures. On the other hand, Von a Nach B surprised me because it is in fairly regular meter, using  melodic figures and a style closer to Ornette Coleman than to Dolphy. In fact, the whole performance took me back to the days when Coleman played with bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Ed Blackwell.

But I won’t quote from myself too much. Just do yourself a favor and go out of your way to hear and possibly purchase this album, You won’t be disappointed, I assure you.

—© 2022 Lynn René Bayley

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Read my book, From Baroque to Bop and Beyond: An extended and detailed guide to the intersection of classical music and jazz

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