Pianist Yelena Eckemoff Set To Perform In Celebration Of Upcoming Release "Leaving Everything Behind" on Thursday, May 26 At Birdland


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Refined beauty, coming from a place of deep commitment combined with the foundation of a serious musical education, mixed with spontaneous joy, a relentless searching for the divine and a childlike sense of wonder. --All About Jazz
Pianist/Composer Yelena Eckemoff is set to perform in New York at Birdland Jazz Club on Thursday, May 26 at 6:00PM in celebration of her upcoming release, “Leaving Everything Behind." Eckemoff will be joined by violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Billy Hart.

Yelena Eckemoff, the prolific and enthralling pianist and composer, has earned plaudits for her recent releases Everblue, Lions, A Touch of Radiance, Glass Song and more. She has made high-level original music with sidemen on the order of Peter Erskine, Arild Andersen, Jon Christensen, George Mraz, and Mark Turner. With her new release Leaving Everything Behind, she deepens her multifaceted body of work by drawing on older original material- a few pieces dating as far back as the 1980s. “To emphasize my concept behind this album, I needed to go back to my roots," says the pianist. “I wanted to draw on music I composed when I knew very little—if anything at all—about the modern jazz field."

These compositions, in various ways, recall for Eckemoff deeply personal events and contemplations. Yet in reinventing her own works so thoroughly and imaginatively, Eckemoff looks back to look forward, approaching her older material from the heights of her acquired skills as a jazz pianist and band leader. Inhabiting “that rarefied area between modern classical chamber music and progressive jazz" (All About Jazz), Eckemoff once again enlists legendary drummer Billy Hart, whose expressive capacities and timbral choices give the music an unstinting freshness. Completing the lineup is sought-after bassist Ben Street and seasoned violinist and improviser Mark Feldman.

Eckemoff, who also produces all her albums, elaborates on her methods: “Traditionally, jazz is about extensive improvising on what might even be a simple tune. What I'm doing is taking more charge of the outcome. I provide a comprehensive, carefully thought-through musical framework, based on the important melodic material, and share with performers my sentiments about what each piece is meant to express. At the same time I leave much space in this framework for the creative reading by each band member, as well as the band as a whole. When we start playing together, each band member brings a personal interpretation of the music material, and sometimes the outcome evolves away from what was initially intended. The improvisational parts, both structured and free, add a strong element of unpredictability, and also the interplay between band members often takes the music in a new direction."

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