Ellen Weller

Spirits, Little Dreams and Improvisations

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Ellen Weller's CD, a set of 17 free improvisations utilizing a wide variety of instrumentation, often seems like a Vinny Golia project. As with Golia's recordings, the themes are difficult to tell from the improvisations, the musicians react to each other and swing in their own fashion, and the playing has a logic all its own. Golia is a key soloist on this set on sopranino, tenor, clarinet, and the eerie contrabass clarinet, but Weller is often in the lead, particularly when she plays flute. Trombonist George Lewis has his spots and the rhythm sections are quite active and stimulating. The contrast between sound and silence is a little reminiscent of an AACM project, but Weller's work also has a West Coast avant-garde vibe. The music is consistently unpredictable, but grows in interest with each listen.