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.
The Eberhard Weber volume in the ECM :Rarum series is another one of those revelatory spotlights on a player and composer whose entire identity has been shaped by his association with the label. The revelation is that Weber's bass playing and rainbow sense of harmonic interplay has in turn been perhaps more integral to shaping the sound and identity of the label. This collection of ten tracks showcases Weber's contributions as the leader of his fine, longstanding band Colours, his solo projects, and his contributions to the recordings of Gary Burton, Pat Metheny (who could forget his elegant, expressionistic bass playing on Watercolors, Metheny's sophomore ECM effort?), Ralph Towner, and Jan Garbarek.
ECM was producing ambient long before the word was in practice. This may be one of Weber's best, especially "Seriously Deep" which is brilliant. This is a true masterpiece and the long track, 'Seriously Deep', needs to be listen very carefully; a sublime moment, according to me, is when Mariano starts to play his solo…. pure beauty.
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.