Eberhard Weber at 75

weber2

This past January marked Eberhard Weber’s 75th birthday.  His recordings for ECM in the early 1970s were in large part responsible for defining the ECM sound and Euro-Jazz in general.  His style bridged jazz, classical, minimalism, chamber jazz and included some ambient elements.  He regularly recorded with other ECM artists such Gary Burton (Ring, 1974; Passengers, 1976), Ralph Towner (Solstice, 1975; Solstice/Sound and Shadows, 1977), Pat Metheny (Watercolors, 1977), and Jan Garbarek (10 recordings between 1978 and 1998).

weber colours of choloeHis music, often in a melancholic tone, frequently utilizes ostinatos, yet is highly organized in its spectrum of tone colors and attention to dramatic detail.  In fact, Weber named his group “Colours”, with Charlie Mariano (soprano saxophone, flutes), Rainer Brüninghaus (piano, synthesizer), and Jon Christensen (drums). After their first recording, Yellow Fields (1975), Christensen left and was replaced by John Marshall. The group toured extensively and recorded two further records, Silent Feet (1977) and Little Movements (1980), before disbanding.

Weber’s distinctive sound was a product of a custom made five-string electric upright bass he used.

weber coloursSince the 1990s Weber’s recording activity under his own name has diminished, and he was most active as a member of the Jan Garbarek Group.  In 2008 he released Stages of a Long Journey which is a live recording made in March 2005 on the occasion of his 65th birthday with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and featuring collaborations with Gary Burton, Wolfgang Dauner and Jan Garbarek. In 2009 ECM also re-released his three albums with Colours: Yellow Fields, Silent Feet and Little Movements, as a 3CD collection.

In 2007 there have been reports if ill-health, including Weber having suffered a stroke.

weber1This year Pat Metheny put together at concert celebrating his 75th birthday and a CD has just been released, Hommage a Eberhard Weber.

In January 2015 musicians and listeners converged upon Stuttgarts Theaterhaus for two consecutive nights to celebrate the 75th birthday of Eberhard Weber. The concerts centered around a specially commissioned 35-minute suite by Pat Metheny, with whom Weber had played and recorded back in the 1970s. Featuring Metheny, the SWR Big Band conducted by Helge Sunde, Gary Burton, bassist Scott Colley and Danny Gottlieb on drums, the composition was arranged around recordings of solos by Weber. Other performers during the two nights playing selections from Webers vast body of work were Webers longtime companions Jan Garbarek, Paul McCandless, Manfred Schoof and arranger Michael Gibbs, all drawing ovations from the packed house. A truly special event, this. – Michael Tucker, Jazz Journal.

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