American Roadwork / Sound on Survival Live

Jeff Stockton By

Sign in to view read count
Lisle Ellis/Marco Eneidi/Peter Valsamis
American Roadwork

According to Robert Rusch's liner notes for American Roadwork, the Sound on Survival trio (alto saxophonist Marco Eneidi, bassist Lisle Ellis and drummer Peter Valsamis) played 21 shows in 21 days and logged an estimated 8,000 miles on the road before going into the Spirit Room for this session. Eneidi's idea was for a ballads album, but Ellis suggested blues music, performed tightly and succinctly in a move away from the suite-length improvisations they had been playing in concert.

The blues is the organizing principle around which these musicians deliver concise, focused statements, like free verse poets who exercise their skills by composing a series of sonnets. Eneidi doesn't have much sweetness in his tone, mostly urgency, so a blues feel comes naturally, especially on the CD's two standout tracks: a cover of "Baby Please Don't Go and the original "Contractual Obligation Blues. Laid back and sinewy, the band performs these tunes with a malevolent seductiveness.

On the up-tempo cuts ("Shock and Awe Shucks, the title track and the three parts of "Dreamt Up Blues ), Eneidi and Ellis chase each other like a pair of pieces on a chess board, with Valsamis playing the part of the board. Ellis proves that the band is as much his as Eneidi's as the bassist delivers a breathtaking symphonic arco solo on "Vienna Blues.

Sound on Survival

Presumably recorded during the tour that led to American Roadwork, in the old days Live would have been a double record set, with performances from Amherst and Philadelphia divided in half. The three parts of "Amherst document the excitement of Eneidi's sustained energy and torrential improvisations over a pumping rhythm section. He revs up then delivers quicksilver arpeggios in short bursts from his horn.

The uninterrupted 40 minutes from Philly is naturally more discursive, featuring Ellis' extended sequence that utilizes electronic treatments and atmospheric effects. When Eneidi returns, he concludes a gorgeous solo passage with sighs, whispers and exhalations. Live runs the risk of testing the patience of a listener who's come to expect the relative brevity captured on CIMP, but the solos always move the performances forward. Taken together, both discs give a complete view of a trio working on all cylinders.

Tracks and Personnel

American Roadwork

Tracks: Baby, Please Don't Go; Dreamt Up Blues #6 Pt.2; News Blues; Contractual Obligation Blues; Shock and Awe Shucks; Dreamt Up Blues #3; American Roadwork; Dreamt Up Blues #6 Pt.1; Dreamt Up Blues #5; Nine; Vienna Blues; Short & Clean

Personnel: Lisle Ellis, bass; Marco Eneidi, alto saxophone; Peter Valsamis, drums.

Sound on Survival Live

Tracks: Amherst 1-3; Philadelphia

Personnel: Lisle Ellis, bass; Marco Eneidi, alto saxophone; Peter Valsamis, drums.


More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!