In January 2015 musicians and listeners converged upon Stuttgart’s 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 Weber’s vast body of work were Weber’s longtime companions Jan Garbarek, Paul McCandless and arranger Michael Gibbs, all drawing ovations from the packed house.
Although this is essentially a solo bass date, Eberhard Weber's use of overdubbing and an echo unit turns his bass into an orchestra of sorts. Since he is a strong composer, covering a wide span of moods during this set of melodic originals and avoiding the use of his effects as gimmickry, Weber creates an introverted but accessible program whose appeal should stretch beyond just lovers of bass solos.
"Ein Klassiker von Eberhard Weber. Seine Colours fanden das ideale Verhältnis von minimalistischen Klavier- spiel, singendem Bass, klagendem Saxophon- spiel und nervösem Schlagzeug. Hohe Bewertungen für die Interpretation und Klangqualität." ~Audio
This is one of bassist Eberhard Weber's more stimulating ECM releases, due in part to his colorful sidemen: guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Lyle Mays (in a rare vacation from Pat Metheny), Paul McCandless (switching between soprano, oboe, English horn and bass clarinet) and drummer Michael DiPasqua. The quintet plays four of Weber's originals (including the 16-minute "Death in the Car Wash") and, although the music is sometimes introspective and full of space, Frisell largely keeps the proceedings unpredictable and adds some fire and otherworldly sounds.
Of all of Eberhard Weber's classic albums Yellow Fields is probably the most likely to appeal to the average prog fan. First of all because it opens with "Touch", the most "symphonic" piece Weber has ever recorded without using an actual orchestra: a lush, stately, moving instrumental ballad with gorgeous mellotron, and with the main melody played in unison by Charlie Mariano's lyrical sax, Rainer Brueninghaus's synth and Weber's own plangeant bass. "Touch" is utterly delightful, a major highlight in Weber's oeuvre.