168

Ellery Eskelin with Andrea Parkins & Jim Black: Kulak, 29 & 30

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Kulak, 29 & 30 was recorded live at Kulak, Berikon, Switzerland, on October 29 and 30, 1997, by the innovative trio of Ellery Eskelin (tenor saxophone), Andrea Parkins (accordion and sampler), and Jim Black (percussion). In the liner notes Ellery Eskelin explains that "I'm constantly looking for structural methods to change existing and assumed paradigms in improvised music, sometimes blurring the line between written and improvised material but more often creating a highly defined distinction."

That's exactly what's happening on Kulak, 29 & 30. "Departure Lounge," the opening and defining track, begins with a series of lightning shifts from a funky beat (over which Eskelin's tenor sails) to thoughtful rubato accordion riffs from Parkins, and back again. Finally the funk beat wins out, and Eskelin improvises over it with melodic sensibility but a keen individuality and awareness of post-Albert Ayler and even post-Evan Parker tenor saxophone innovations. Parkins builds a gradual ascent with him as Black's funk rhythms shift and churn; at the piece's climax Eskelin and Parkins are playing with a stately mien (rubato) over the funk, which finally gives up as tenor and accordion duet to climax the piece before the drums return for a passionate finale. This bravura track shows this trio at their best - both in their imaginative reconstructions and recombinations of generic material, and in their tremendous instrumental ability and appeal.

The other tracks contain the same unexpected shifts, carried off with aplomb. "Fifty Nine" is immediately less rhythmically-based, as it is built on some ecclesiastical sonorities from Parkins; but after Eskelin enters to work a repeating, subtly mutating figure, Black solos at the center of the piece, which then returns to the same lunar landscape where it began. "Visionary of the Week" begins similarly, but goes in completely different directions. Nor is that the end of the ride. "Rhyme or Reason" and "Organum" build from quiet edgy noises (with Eskelin at his most Evan Parkerish). On "Rhyme or Reason" there suddenly appears a thoroughly surprising Parkins ostinato, and some marvelous melodic inventiveness from Eskelin; "Organum" sustains the original mood longer, but takes it also into uncharted ground. "Expubidence" is a brief tripartite dialogue that shows Eskelin ranging all over the stylistic map in the smallest of spaces.

Kulak, 29 & 30 is a fascinating document of one of today's top trios at work. Don't miss it.

| 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 United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Chromola CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Nature City CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Duet" CD/LP/Track Review Duet
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Subterranea" CD/LP/Track Review Subterranea
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Antenna" CD/LP/Track Review Antenna
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Windows" CD/LP/Track Review Windows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT 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!