Florian Weber ‘Lucent Waters’ CD (ECM) 3/5

If the surname is familiar, then the musical lineage is not quite what it seems. Florian Weber was born in 1977 to classical music practitioner parents (his father, Rainer, a music professor and his mother, Elke, an opera singer) and there is no obvious or immediate connection at all with Eberhard Weber. In his early twenties, Florian received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. While there he studied with both Paul Bley and Joanne Brackeen, even if, to these ears at least, Weber’s classical influences permeate the new album from start to finish. Once back in Germany, Weber worked under John Taylor in Cologne, and also Richie Beirach and Lee Konitz in New York. An impressive roster of musicians to say the least. Along with American bassist Jeff Denson and Israeli drummer, Ziv Ravitz, Weber co-founded Trio Minsrah (the Hebrew term for ‘prism’) and thereafter worked with Lee Konitz in 2006. Further recordings followed including on Enja, but this new recording is Weber’s second recording for ECM.

The all original compositions are performed by a new trio comprising Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Linda May Han Oh on double bass and Nasheet Watts on drums and was recorded at La Buissonne in September 2017. Several pieces make reference to water and both the simplicity of style of the melody on, ‘From Cousteau’s point of view’ and the way in which the title itself is constructed are, perhaps, collectively a subtle nod to EST and their epic, ‘Gregarin’s point of view’. Here, a pretty minimalist piano riff is repeated until Ralph Alessi takes control on this mournful piece. There is something of a contemporary classical feel to, ‘Melody of a waterfall’, where the sheer beauty of the recording sounds results in every single piano key being heard with distinctive clarity. A delicate Romantic classically inspired intro on, ‘Schimmelreiter’, leads into some carefully crafted cymbal work and throughout the harmonious relationship between classical and jazz is emphasized, consistent with the album as a whole. This writer would like a little more variation in the tempo and a less cleaner sound, but it has to be stated in defence of the musicians that the downbeat sound is ideally suited to late night listening. Of all the compositions on offer here, ‘Time horizon’, is the most uptempo, though even then it is relatively restrained in tone and features in the intro a lovely solo passage from Weber. Accompanying the music, the inner sleeve includes individual black and white photos of the musicians.

Tim Stenhouse