165

Ellery Eskelin/Andrea Parkins/Jim Black: Arcanum Moderne

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Ellery Eskelin/Andrea Parkins/Jim Black: Arcanum Moderne It's hard to look at Arcanum Moderne without reference to the massive heap of recordings this particular trio has piled up over the years, which is both a good and bad thing, of course. There's something about the odd chemistry among Ellery Eskelin, Andrea Parkins, and Jim Black which has fueled endless live performance and ceaseless recorded unrest.

All three players subscribe to the school of purposeful unpredictability, sometimes setting up stark clashes that grab attention and other times falling neatly into uncanny grooves from out of nowhere. But make no mistake: these events, as with most of the rest of what you hear from this group, are not at all random. And when the trio stretches out in between, it's open ground.

Arcanum Moderne juxtaposes tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin's obsession with timbral color alongside a fabric of improvisation that moves from unison/harmonized melodies toward free playing and back. Check out his breathing, fluttering, floating introduction to "Half A Chance," rich with thick overtones and polychromatic hues. Andrea Parkins enters on sampler then piano and accordion, and Jim Black rides the rhythmic tension between stasis and a halting rush. The denouement comes in the form of a stately organ procession toward the end of the piece.

The first track, "It's A Samba" (yes, in its own oblique way) takes advantage of Black's crisp and unpredictable drumming, stretching out over 13 minutes to allow each player to go beyond the appetizers through a full course meal. (Each one of these tunes is expansive, most ten minutes or longer.)

But it's moments like the transition two minutes into "For No Good Reason," where a no-holds-barred improv briefly coalesces into a groove, that you really understand what Eskelin is up to here. It's the contrast between breath and punch, intimacy and distance, past history and modern future, channel and ocean that fuels this excursion into outer sound. Make no mistake, though: Ellery Eskelin is no screamer. As his liner notes point out quite open-mindedly, "there's a lot of ways to improvise and my way is no better than anybody else's." This music is quite active about its expansion and message.

Eskelin's route is most assuredly unlike the rest, which makes it a rare opportunity to glimpse into the spirit of three players who have spent the time and made the effort to join forces for a purpose. Listeners who have followed this group's ongoing course will find that Arcanum Moderne ranks up there with the best of a superlative series of recordings.

Visit Ellery Eskelin and Hatology on the web.


Track Listing: 1. It's A Samba (13:36); 43 RPM (6:19); 3. Five Walls (12:43); 4. For No Good Reason (9:45); 5. Half A Chance (10:50); 6. Arcanum Moderne (14:18).

Personnel: Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Jim Black: drums, percussion; Andrea Parkins: accordion, piano, sampler.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Hat Hut Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Trio New York II
Prime Source Recordings
2013
buy
Mirage
Prime Source Recordings
2013
buy
Jazz Festival...
Prime Source Recordings
2012
buy
Dirigo Rataplan
Prime Source Recordings
2012
buy
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Nels Cline Nels Cline
guitar, electric
Evan Parker Evan Parker
sax, tenor
Paul Bley Paul Bley
piano
Fred Anderson Fred Anderson
saxophone
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Steve Lacy Steve Lacy
sax, soprano
Joe McPhee Joe McPhee
reeds
Ken Vandermark Ken Vandermark
saxophone
David S. Ware David S. Ware
sax, tenor

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Projeto Brasil!" CD/LP/Track Review Projeto Brasil!
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "One For Cisco" CD/LP/Track Review One For Cisco
by John Sharpe
Published: May 26, 2016
Read "The Garden of Equilibria" CD/LP/Track Review The Garden of Equilibria
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "Punch" CD/LP/Track Review Punch
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Dream Keeper" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Keeper
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 27, 2016

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!