431

Ellery Eskelin: Forms

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Though Ellery Eskelin introduced Drew Gress to Phil Haynes in 1986, they recorded their first album only two years later. Before then they joined forces with trumpeter Paul Smoker in a quartet called Joint Venture and recorded three albums as such. The understanding between the musicians grew stronger over that span of time and when Eskelin recorded Setting The Standard in 1988, his first release as a leader, it was apparent that he shared a cogent relationship with Gress and Haynes. Their second venture, Forms, recorded two years later for Open Minds, has now been reissued by Hatology.

"Setting the Standard" was a propitious title. Eskelin has developed into a highly individualised player, prescribing his own norms and fuelling them with ideas that often are spun out of the moment. While invention is an integral part of his devolution, he does not forsake harmony.

Eskelin shows a remarkable control. He is angular, he cavorts, he breaks lines and zips in with short phrases, but he never scoots over the top. He balances melody with freeform movement, and in bringing them together gives his music sinew and soul. He profiles these aspects when he gets the “Blues,” scuttling melody across the range of freedom, a direction stirred by the Gress' bass rumble and Haynes' rim shots on the drums, which he later triggers into a cross current of rhythm. The “Latin” flavours are subtle in their rhythm; Eskelin brings in a thick edge that sways before he navigates that line towards more pronounced intensity, all proceeding in a finely etched development.

Two of the tunes were not written by Eskelin. Duke Ellington’s “Fleurette Africaine” is pastel shaded by Eskelin in slow, entrancing devolution. As can be expected, he adds his stamp with vibrant splashes as he navigates the tonal palette of his horn. He then roars on Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop,” fueled by Gress and Haynes, a fiery tempest that serves as a fitting close to a variegated and enjoyable listen.

Visit Hatology on the web.


Track Listing: 1. Blues (Eskelin) 8:19 2. In Three (Eskelin) 8:49 3. Ballad (Eskelin) 10:28 4. Latin (Eskelin) 9:16 5. Fleurette Africaine (Eskelin) 10:31 6. Vignettes (Eskelin) 10:40 7. Bebop (Eskelin) 4:20

Personnel: Ellery Eskelin - tenor saxophone Drew Gress - bass Phil Haynes - drums

Title: Forms | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Hat Hut Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Runnin' for the Ghost" CD/LP/Track Review Runnin' for the Ghost
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Trickster" CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Loafer's Hollow" CD/LP/Track Review Loafer's Hollow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Tangents" CD/LP/Track Review Tangents
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.