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 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 "Planet" CD/LP/Track Review Planet
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>" CD/LP/Track Review Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>
by John Eyles
Published: June 17, 2016
Read "Guilty Saints" CD/LP/Track Review Guilty Saints
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Transatlantic Conversations: 11 Piece Band Live" CD/LP/Track Review Transatlantic Conversations: 11 Piece Band Live
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2016
Read "Ante Lucem for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Quintet" CD/LP/Track Review Ante Lucem for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Quintet
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 3, 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!