Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Eberhard Weber Colours - 1978 - Silent Feet

Eberhard Weber Colours
Silent Feet

01. Seriously Deep 17:47
02. Silent Feet 12:11
03. Eyes That Can See In The Dark 12:19

Bass – Eberhard Weber
Drums – John Marshall
Piano, Synthesizer – Rainer Brüninghaus
Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Charlie Mariano

Recorded November 1977 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg

If YELLOW FIELDS, the first album Eberhard Weber recorded with his group Colours, was a sensation, SILENT FEET (which appeared a year later) turned out to be more conventional, but still highly enjoyable.
SILENT FEET boasts just three tracks performed by four musicians: Weber on bass, Rainer Brüninghaus on pianos (both acoustic and electric) and occasional synth, Charlie Mariano on soprano sax and flute, and John Marshall on drums.

John Marshall had just left the Soft Machine; Brüninghaus's electric piano sounds similar to Karl Jenkins's; even Weber's composing is reminiscent of the Soft Machine's BUNDLES, which had just appeared when SILENT FEET was recorded. Chances are that if you enjoy BUNDLES, you will also like this. The main difference is, of course, the total absence of electric guitars and organs, with the result that SILENT FEET sounds like a subtler album, less "rocky" than anything the Softs were providing at around this time.

SILENT FEET's three compositions more or less follow the same pattern: plangent, sometimes mournful melodies dissolve into slow grooves, which gradually pick up speed as one of the soloists struts his stuff, until the solo reaches its climax and the process can start over again. The 17+ minutes "Seriously Deep" boasts extended solos from Weber, Brüninghaus and Mariano. The title track (12 minutes long) is the highlight of the album and one of the highlights of Weber's career. It's the only track on SILENT FEET which features a truly fast and exuberant main theme - but the band play the old trick of starting out slowly and soloing on top of the basic chord pattern BEFORE the main theme is played. The initial solo is taken by Brüninghaus, and (as it speeds up) it's one of the most exuberant piano solos I know. The only time I've ever heard Brüninghaus come close to this, is on Jan Garbarek's recent live album DRESDEN, where he's once again given the space to shine.

What you make of Charlie Mariano's solos will depend on how you feel about soprano sax in general. In my view, Mariano's playing was more remarkable on YELLOW FIELDS. Here, it never really catches fire (in spite of those crescendos), not in the way Brüninghaus's playing does. Weber himself, on the other hand, is absolutely brilliant. SILENT FEET is worth buying just to hear the way he accompanies his fellow band members. He sounds so strong and confident, it's a joy throughout. As for Weber's own solos, they're highly convincing and totally sui generis. Just imagine a fretless bass which sounds more "organic" than any guitar ever could, and which also swoops and trills in unexpected ways... Incredible mastery is all I can say.

N.B. SILENT FEET is now available in a bargain-priced two-disc set which includes all three albums recorded by the 'Colours' band: YELLOW FIELDS, SILENT FEET itself, and LITTLE MOVEMENTS. A strongly recommended collection.



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