JJ 05/83: Eberhard Weber – Later That Evening

Forty years ago, Rod McLoughlin found that, however remotely, the bassist's apparently uneventful compositions spoke in a jazz dialect. First published in Jazz Journal May 1983


This deceptively formless and apparently uneventful music is in fact highly structured and organ­ised. How much is notated and how much improvised is a matter for con­jecture; I would guess about half and half. There are no solos in the accepted sense. Recent groups of Weber’s were much brightened by the mercurial fire of Charlie Mariano. Here even the usually dazzling McCandless subdues his virtuosity to the group’s orchestral texture.

The four tracks, though very differ­ent, share a common procedure. Basically Weber works by setting up synchronous layers of musical material which create tension through their seeming rhythmic and textural incompatibility. Gradually the anarchy is resolved as the layers coalesce into an unlooked-for harm­ony and the tracks end with an ex­uberant but controlled sense of release and congruity.

Carwash, for instance, opens with a series of extended drones, onto which are projected aleatoric effects: voices, clicks, snatches of melody. An animated cymbal pattern begins, clashing and com­peting with the reed pedals and staccato piano interjections. Gradu­ally the sections begin to cohere and the warring patterns blend into a jubilant riff to end.

Maurizius has a cyclic structure. Simple broken chords in the piano announce material which is repeated six times, developed and voiced in a different way as each instrument is given pro­minence. In the title track more drones, sustained tone-colours and unfolding melodic shapes imper­ceptibly melt into a calm, blues-like conclusion. In The Open has three voices moving in and out of focus till they are reconciled in a series of riffs announced by the oboe.

Many would dismiss this music out of hand – for all sorts of reasons. So be it. But there is no denying its attractiveness and it speaks, however remotely, in an unmistakable dialect of the jazz language.

Maurizius; Death In The Carwash (24.48) – Often In The Open; Later That Evening (18.10)
Paul McCandless (ss/ob/eng h/bcl); Bill Frisell (g); Lyle Mays (p); Michael DiPasqua (d/pc); Eberhard Weber (b). Ludwigsburg, March 82.
(ECM 1231)