Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, and More Release 'Hommage a Eberhard Weber,' ECM [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt | Sep 23, 2015 06:09 PM EDT
The SWR Big Band with bassist Eberhard Weber magically playing along on the big screen. (Photo : A.T. Cimarosti / ECM Records )

Right on the heels of Encore, wherein 75-year old bassist Eberhard Weber stitched together tapes of in-concert solos with new arrangements and instruments, comes Hommage a Eberhard Weber, a January 2015 two-night various-artists tribute in Stuttgart, Germany. Weber, who hasn't performed since his 2007 stroke, had his former bandmates, including guitarist Pat Metheny, soprano sax men Jan Gabarek and Paul McCandless (also on oboe) and vibes master Gary Burton, plus two conductors, the SWR Big Band and an extra rhythm section for the 35-minute title track, perform his originals.

And he was there to enoy it all. The only piece he didn't write is the specially commissioned title track, an elongated suite by Metheny. This piece, the highlight of the tribute, is built around Weber's always inventive solos. At the shows, it was performed to sampled sliced and diced video of Weber soloing on the big screen in perfect time to the new suite. This included some "interaction" between Weber on screen and live bassist Scott Colley.

(Photo : Ralf Dombrowski / ECM Records)
Guitarist Pat Metheny at the 'Hommage a Eberhard Weber.'

Eberhard Weber first appeared on ECM as the bassist of the Wolfgang Dauner Trio on Output in 1970. His debut as leader, The Colors Of Chloe, came five years later. He was on Ralph Towner's Solstice, toured with Burton, recorded with Metheny, formed his own bands and released his Resume in 2012.

Since Weber was primarily the bassist of the Jan Garbarek Group for 25 years (1982 to 2007), Garbarek starts the CD with solo sax in front of Weber's tape-looped bass solos. The CD ends with Weber's "Notes After An Evening" (from his '93 solo Pendulum), rearranged for big-band oomph. It's a fitting finale.

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