Polymath (noun): a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.
Music needs a term for this. What do you call one person who is a pianist, vocalist, keyboardist, composer, producer, arranger, band leader, sideman and more? Music may not have a term, but it does have a name: Rachel Eckroth.
Eckroth can lead with a bold vision or accompany with the subtle skills necessary to make another musician shine. Her combination of jazz experimentation and pop feeling form the engine behind her own work as a leader or co-leader on 20 albums, most recently The Garden on Rainy Days Records (2021). That same crossover talent is why she’s been featured on voice and keyboards in the bands of Rufus Wainwright, St. Vincent, KT Tunstall, and Chris Botti.
Eckroth can hold an audience’s attention in an intimate jazz club or on a massive concert stage. She did the latter when she opened for Rufus Wainwright’s All These Poses Anniversary Tour, standing on stage alone with just her keyboards and her voice, weaving a sonic landscape that kept audiences enthralled. Eckroth is no stranger to television, either, having been a member of the house band on The Meredith Vieira Show and appearing on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers and Good Morning America with various artists.
Eckroth has been a busy recording artist throughout her career, and the pace has only increased in recent years. In 2020, Eckroth appeared on the single “Circling” by Donny McCaslin, the acclaimed saxophonist from David Bowie’s final band. That same year, she released three singles of her own. This year (2021) she and her husband, bassist Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, The Tedeschi Trucks Band) put out a duet album called The Blackbird Sessions Vol. 1. She also released the single “Moot Points” featuring Alassane, as well as an eponymous EP featuring four of her own songs.
Her latest project, The Garden, features 8 tracks written or co-written by Eckroth. The band includes Lefebvre and McCaslin along with drummer Christian Euman, guitarist Nir Felder, and saxophonist Andrew Krasilnikov. Eckroth chose the album title because, like a garden, her music is a diverse ecosystem grown from the seeds of her many musical adventures.
Polymath. Renaissance woman. Jack of all trades. Use whatever term you’re comfortable with, or no special word at all. What matters is the music, and Rachel Eckroth’s musical world is inviting, exciting, and filled with surprises. Stay a while in The Garden, and then check out everything else this visionary has to offer.