BY MICHAEL TOLAND
When we last heard from German pianist Florian Weber, he had issued a lovely record called Alba as a duo with Karlheinz Stockhausen’s trumpeter son Markus. For Lucent Waters, his ECM debut as a bandleader, Weber connects with trumpeter Ralph Alessi, bassist Linda May Han Oh (both of whom he worked with in saxophonist/mentor Lee Konitz’s band) and drumming titan Nasheet Waits.
Weber is not a flamboyant player, preferring to meditatively explore his melodies, and he encourages his sidefolks to do the same. “Schimmelreiter” and “Melody of a Waterfall” shimmer under the glow of Alessi’s insistent lines and golden tones, supported by the leader’s sonorous chord work and the rhythmeers’ drifting foundation. Weber does take advantage of the presence of an engine room, however, letting Waits and Oh put a little fire into his step. The rhythm section pushes hard on “Fragile Cocoon” and “Time Horizon,” and though Weber is no McCoy Tyner, he does allow himself to wander more aggressively across the 88s in response. He’s at his best, though, on “Honestlee,” paying tribute to his, Oh and Alessi’s old boss with gorgeous melodics and a rhythmic kick that makes the track swirl.
Beautifully crafted and expertly performed, Lucent Waters perfectly displays Weber’s virtues as player, writer and leader.
DOWNLOAD: “Fragile Cocoon,” “Honestlee,” “Time Horizon”