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Eberhard Weber in Lucerne, Switzerland
22 January 1940 |
|Instruments||Electric upright bass
Double bass, cello
|Associated acts||Jan Garbarek, Kate Bush
Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner
|Website||Eberhard Weber on ECM|
|Custom 5-string electric upright bass|
Eberhard Weber (born 22 January 1940 in Stuttgart) is a German double bassist and composer. As a bass player, he is known for his highly distinctive tone and phrasing. Weber's compositions blend chamber jazz, European classical music, minimalism and ambient music, and are regarded as characteristic examples of the ECM Records sound.
He began recording in the early 1960s, and released his first record, The Colours of Chloë (ECM 1042), as a leader under his own name in 1973. In addition to his career as a musician, he also worked for many years as a television and theater director. He has designed an electric-acoustic bass featuring an additional string tuned to C.
His music, often in a melancholic tone, frequently utilizes ostinatos, yet is highly organized in its colouring and attention to dramatic detail.
Weber was a notable early proponent of the solid-body electric double bass, which he has played regularly since the beginning of the 1970s.
From the early 1960s to the early 1970s, his closest musical association was with pianist Wolfgang Dauner. Their many mutual projects were very diverse, from mainstream jazz to jazz-rock fusion to avant-garde sound experiments. During this period he also played and recorded with (among many others) pianists Hampton Hawes and Mal Waldron, guitarists Baden Powell de Aquino and Joe Pass, The Mike Gibbs Orchestra and violinist Stephane Grappelli.
Starting with The Colours of Chloë, he has released 10 more records under his own name, all on ECM. The ECM association also led to collaborations with other ECM recording artists such as 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).
In the mid-1970s he formed his own 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.
Since the early 1980s, Weber has regularly collaborated with the British singer-songwriter Kate Bush, playing on four out of her last five studio albums (The Dreaming, 1982; Hounds of Love, 1985; The Sensual World, 1989; Aerial, 2005).
During the 1980s, Weber toured with Barbara Thompson's jazz ensemble Paraphernalia.
Since the early 1990s his performing and recording activity has decreased considerably—he has had only two new recordings under his own name since 1990. His 2001 release Endless Days is an elemental fusion of jazz and classical music flavors, fitting well the moniker chamber jazz. His main touring activity during this period has been as a regular 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.
As of June 2007, reports have surfaced that Weber has suffered a stroke and is currently unable to perform. In a January 2010 interview with Die Welt, he spoke about his medical condition and future projects.
Weber was awarded the prestigious Albert Mangelsdorff-Preis in November 2009. A box set of his 1970s' works with Colours was released by ECM Records the same month.
Weber's latest albums, Résumé (2012) and Encore (2015) comprise solos from his performances worldwide with The Jan Garbarek Group, overdubbed with keyboards/treatments by Weber, and sax by Garbarek and flügelhorn by Ack Van Rooyen.
- The Colours of Chloë (1973)
- Yellow Fields (1975)
- The Following Morning (1976)
- Silent Feet (1977)
- Fluid Rustle (1978)
- Little Movements (1980)
- Later That Evening (1982)
- Chorus (1984)
- Orchestra (1988)
- Pendulum (1993)
- Endless Days (2001)
- Stages of a Long Journey (2007)
- Résumé (2012)
- Encore (2015)
- Works (1985)
- Selected Recordings (2004)
- Colours (2010) (reissue of Yellow Fields, Silent Feet and Little Movements)
With Gary Burton
With Kate Bush
With Jan Garbarek
- Photo with Blue Sky, White Cloud, Wires, Windows and a Red Roof (ECM, 1979)
- Paths, Prints (ECM, 1981)
- Wayfarer (ECM, 1983)
- It's OK to Listen to the Gray Voice (ECM, 1985)
- All Those Born With Wings (ECM, 1987)
- Legend of the Seven Dreams (ECM, 1988)
- I Took Up the Runes (ECM, 1990)
- Twelve Moons (ECM, 1992)
- Visible World (ECM, 1995)
- Rites (ECM, 1998)
With Pat Metheny
- Watercolors (ECM, 1977)
With Ralph Towner
With Mal Waldron
- The Call (JAPO, 1971)
See "External Links" below for a complete discography
- Wolfgang Dauner, Dream Talk (1964), Free Action (1967), Output (1970)
- Hampton Hawes, Hamps' Piano (1967)
- Baden Powell, Poema en Guitar (1968)
- Joe Pass, Intercontinental (1970)
- Ernest Ranglin Ranglypso (1976), MPS
- Stephane Grapelli, Afternoon in Paris (1971)
- The Singers Unlimited with Art Van Damme, Invitation (1973)
- Benny Bailey Islands (1976)
- Manfred Schoof Orchestra, Reflections (1983)
- Graeme Revell, Body of Evidence: Motion Picture Soundtrack (1993)
- United Jazz + Rock Ensemble, including The Break Even Point and United Live Opus Sechs
Weber has, on at least five occasions, drawn on text from the book Watership Down (by Richard Adams) for the names of his compositions and albums. Examples include "Silent Feet" and "Eyes That Can See in the Dark" from the Silent Feet album; "Often in the Open" from the Later That Evening album; and "Quiet Departures" and the title track on the Fluid Rustle album.