John Ellis: One Foot In the Swamp (2005)
What One Foot In the Swamp is is the recording that David Sanborn has been seeking for thirty years, a contemporary R&B recording from the 21th Century that impels the listener to realize what this music is without ever allowing the listener to forget where it came from. It makes you want to dance. Saxophonist Ellis runs the entire jazz gambit from the slick R&B of "Happy" and "Work in Progress" to the the avant-garde of "Work in Progress" and "Calmette Shawarma." Ellis proves a very capable saxophonist on tenor or soprano saxophones. His tenor is Ben Webster-rich on the rural-gospel "Country Girl." Aaron Goldberg's Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer provides a Crusaders-like environment in which the saxophonist may expand.
Interesting instrumentation is used on this recording. Gregoire Maret provides perhaps the finest chromatic harmonica since Toots. He in in abundent evidence on the lengthy essay "Seeing Mice." The harmonica and tenor saxophone bounce off one another in an aural vinaigrette that is at once understated and heady. John Scofield justifies his funk stripes on "One for the Kelpers." Beautifully funky and fresh, the guitar, electric piano, and tenor swirl around one another in a dance of rhythm.
There is not enough of this music out there. John Ellis has an omniverous vision, as demonstrated by his music. I very heartily recommend this fine recording.
Track Listing: 1. Intro; 2. Happy; 3. Work In Progress; 4. Country Girls; 5. Bonus Round; 6. Seeing Mice; 7. One For The Kelpers 8. Ostinato; 9. Michael Finnegan; 10. Chalmette Shawarma; 11. Sippin' Cider.
Personnel: John Ellis -- tenor saxophone; Aaron Goldberg -- rhodes, wurlitzer, effects; Roland Guerin -- acoustic bass; John Scofield -- guitar; Gregoire Maret (chromatic harmonica; Nicholas Payton -- Trumpet; Jason Marsalis -- drums.
Record Label: Hyena Records