Eberhard Weber (born 22 January 1940, in Stuttgart, Germany) 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.
Weber began recording in the early 1960s, and released The Colours of Chloë (ECM 1042), his first record 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 with an additional string tuned to C.
Weber’s music, often in a melancholic tone, frequently utilizes ostinatos, yet is highly organized in its colouring and attention to detail. He was an early proponent of the solid-body electric double bass, which he has played regularly since the early 1970s.
From the early 1960s to the early 1970s, Weber’s closest musical association was with pianist Wolfgang Dauner. Their many mutual projects were diverse, from mainstream jazz to jazz-rock fusion to avant-garde sound experiments. During this period, Weber also played and recorded with pianists Hampton Hawes and Mal Waldron, guitarists Baden Powell de Aquino and Joe Pass, The Mike Gibbs Orchestra, violinist Stephane Grappelli, and many others.
Starting with The Colours of Chloë, Weber has released 13 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 Weber 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 of her last six 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 1990, Weber’s touring has been limited, and he has had only two new recordings under his own name: The 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 that period was as a regular member of the Jan Garbarek Group. On the occasion of his 65th birthday, in March, 2005 he recorded Stages of a Long Journey, a live concert with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and featuring Gary Burton, Wolfgang Dauner and Jan Garbarek. In 2009 ECM also re-released his albums Yellow Fields, Silent Feet and Little Movements as a 3-CD collection titled “Colours”.
In 2007, Weber suffered a stroke and was subsequently 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 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, sax by Garbarek, and flügelhorn by Ack Van Rooyen.
His autobiography, Résumé, was published in 2015. An English translation by Heidi Kirk – Eberhard Weber: A German Jazz Story – is due to be published in October 2021.
Yellow Fields is the second solo album by German double bassist and composer Eberhard Weber recorded in 1975 and released on the ECM label.
The Allmusic review awarded the album four out of five stars. The Penguin Guide to Jazz awarded it the maximum four stars and placed it in their Core Collection, writing “Weber’s masterpiece is essentially a period piece which nevertheless still seems modern. The sound of it is almost absurdly opulent: bass passages and swimming keyboard textures that reverberate from the speakers, chords that seem to hum with huge overtones. The keyboard textures in particular are of a kind that will probably never be heard on record again.” (wikipedia)
Since the 1970s when I first bought my copy of this LP, it has been my favorite Eberhard Weber recording, especially the second song on side one, ‘Sand-Glass’. That song casts a spell, especially Weber’s solos. Mariano’s playing is also magical. This LP is a must for Eberhard Weber fans. (by Charles Freeland)
Rainer Brüninghaus (keyboards)
Jon Christensen (drums)
Charlie Mariano (saxophone, shenai, nagaswaram)
Eberhard Weber (bass)
01. Touch 5.00
02. Sand-Glass 15.31
03. Yellow Fields 10.05
04. Left Lane 13.37
Music composed by Eberhard Weber