A CV to match few others in contemporary jazz, a giant of the music, and of the bass, Weber is a remarkable man, someone I had the privilege to interview in the mid-1990s, and whose name I first saw before I had even heard any of his music at least consciously.
It was there vibrant and striking a few years earlier on a slightly torn poster on the staircase wall of a jazz club called Akwarium in the Polish capital, Warsaw.
Yet thinking about it outside jazz, even though little did I know, I had of course heard him on the radio, through his extensive work with Kate Bush, on albums such as Hounds of Love, released in 1985.
Now 72, besides his work with Jan Garbarek that began in 1982, which Résumé concentrates on beginning in 1990, Weber, who was born in the southern German city of Stuttgart also worked extensively in the early part of his career with fellow Stuttgarter, pianist Wolfgang Dauner. Later in the United Jazz + Rock Ensemble, Weber would join Dauner to play for a time as well.
Just two years ago ECM began to present the Weber story to a new generation and of course his loyal public from the early days by releasing a three-CD Old & Masters Edition box that concentrated on Weber’s band Colours (which teamed Weber in its personnel with his later Garbarek band colleague Rainer Brüninghaus).
This band lasted for six years from 1975 and produced the beautiful Yellow Fields, as well as Silent Feet and Little Movements, complementary to his earlier masterwork The Colours of Chloё that initially made Weber’s name in 1974.
The new album draws on live recordings made between 1990 and 2007, solo spots at Garbarek concerts, edited for taste and sequencing and some fresh Garbarek input.
Weber uses ‘a reverb unit’, an echo delay, to accompany himself on his customised five-string electric double bass (and keyboards) for most of this exquisitely powerful album, Garbarek cropping up on three tracks, with drummer/percussionist Michael DiPasqua on two others.
The track titles have a simplicity and grandeur to them, performed in famous old European places mainly, giving each a location as title: hence ‘Grenoble’; ‘Amsterdam’; ‘Lazise’; and closer to home, with Garbarek adding selje flute, ‘Bath’.
Weber retired from the Garbarek quartet through ill health five years ago following a stroke, and the passing of time is also marked by some lovely liner note paintings by Weber’s wife Maja whose work adorns the covers of Weber classics down the years notably The Colours of Chloë and Yellow Fields.
It’s an immersive experience listening to Résumé. The bass is an orchestra in Weber’s magical hands.
Résumé is out now