171

Ellery Eskelin & Han Bennink: Dissonant Characters

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
"And Han, to his audible pleasure, discovers a rare, fully equipped improviser he can't scare off, wear out, bury or give the slip."

So says Kevin Whitehead in the liner notes to this little gem, which consists of ten tracks - ranging in time from twenty-four seconds to almost ten minutes - and all featuring an incredibly agile Ellery Eskelin, plus Han Bennink, as puckish and brilliant a drummer as ever.

Take the first track, with Bennink's dramatically spare and heart-stopping opening. Take the second track, which is the title track. Although it's the first track, not the second, that's called "Flutter," it's the second where Eskelin pours out flurries of notes, building to tremendous tension, rising and falling in closely related melodic bursts as dissonant as Evan Parker's tenor growlings but somewhat sweeter, while Bennink keeps up Max Roach flutters behind him, or punctuates phrases with single crashing notes. It "sounds like chasing and being chased," says Whitehead, and he's right again.

The third track, "Incontrario," features Eskelin more exposed, with Bennink leaving these querulous phrases unanswered for longer periods - although he always knows when to underline, or italicize, or tack on an exclamation point, a question mark, or even a comma. And the drummer is never far from his humor, as when Eskelin hangs on a long multiphonic screech, only to be answered by bells a-ringing as cheerily as Santa rings them in front of Macy's.

Then it's off to the races again. "Oloraz = (Barolo)" is a slippery melodic figure articulated by Eskelin, strolling this way and that. This track and the briefest of brief tracks, "Alias," show how much improvising drummers like Paul Lytton and Paul Lovens owe to Bennink. "Bud + Shake" resumes the chase, but more furiously, and ends in a draw. "Sight Unseen/Brilliant Corners" picks up around the same hard-fought and loquacious place but ends, surprise, in Monkville, where Eskelin plays it sure-handedly straight around the trickiest of themes, using it as a springboard for some artfully chosen "inside" improvisations, while Bennink keeps joyful time. Later, on Monk's "Let's Cool One," the duo slides out as straight-faced as on "Brilliant Corners."

"No Pyrrhula, Pyrrhula (=Bullfinch)" picks up another steady beat, this one Caribbean-tinged and serpentine; but Eskelin cannot be shaken! Nor can he on the closing railroad pastiche "Pro Tanto." The music ranges from tranquil to frenzied, and steadily rhythmic to utterly arhythmic, but these two are together at every point. Highly recommended.

Hatology discs can be obtained from North Country distributors, Cadence Bldg., Redwood, NY 13679. Phone/fax: (315) 287-2852 and (315) 287-2860. Email: orders@cadencebuilding.com. Website: http://www.cadencebuilding.com.

Personnel:

Ellery Eskelin, ts; Han Bennink, d.

Track listing: Flutter / Dissonant Characters / Incontrario / Oloraz = (Barolo) / Alias / Bud + Shake / Sight Unseen/Brilliant Corners / No Pyrrhula, Pyrrhula (= Bullfinch) / Let's Cool One / Pro Tanto.

| Record Label: Hat Hut Records | Style: Modern Jazz


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 Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "2016" CD/LP/Track Review 2016
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "New World" CD/LP/Track Review New World
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Zenith" CD/LP/Track Review Zenith
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 1, 2016
Read "A Cut Through The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review A Cut Through The Heart
by Jack Gold-Molina
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Dark Territory" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Territory
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!