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Jon-Erik Kellso and the EarRegulars: Live at the Ear Inn

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Jon-Erik Kellso and the EarRegulars: Live at the Ear Inn
As trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso and his EarRegulars had been performing every Sunday night for more than sixteen years at New York City's historic Ear Inn, Kellso reasoned it was time that one of their concerts should be recorded to share more broadly the fun and enthusiasm that animates every session. Once the ties had been bound, parts of two concerts were recorded, on January 15 and 29, 2023.

The music is a hybrid, with one foot planted securely in the time-honored Dixie tradition, the other marching steadily toward swing. What is most clear is that every member of the group is happy and at ease playing this style of music, notwithstanding how others may label it. They are simply having a good time, and it shows.

This is basically an octet, with Kellso a constant. Saxophonists Scott Robinson and Jay Rattman, clarinetist Evan Christopher, trombonist John Allred, guitarist Matt Munisteri, bassists Neal Miner and Pat O'Leary are present on most numbers, guitarist Chris Flory on two ("Indian Summer," "Vignette"). There is one vocal, by blues-belter Catherine Russell, on the closing "Back O' Town Blues," the only song on the menu not written in the '20s, '30s or '40s.

Kellso and Allred are splendid soloists, while Robinson is his usual clever and unpredictable self, on tenor saxophone, tarogato ("I'm Coming Virginia") or alto Normaphone ("No One Else But You"). That is not to discount the guitarists, each of whom more than holds his own, with Munisteri and Flory trading bracing licks on "Vignette," pianist Hank Jones' take on the standard "Sweet Sue." Rattman offers a sharp alto saxophone solo on "I Double Dare You," as does Christopher.

While some may say the music on Live at the Deer Inn is outdated, others may argue as forcefully that good music never grows old—especially not in such capable hands. The audience clearly appreciated the freewheeling performance, and chances are good that others would too.

Track Listing

Sleep; I’m Coming Virginia; No One Else But You; Indian Summer; Vignette; I Double Dare You; Back O’ Town Blues.

Personnel

John Allred
trombone
Scott Robinson
saxophone, tenor
Jay Rattman
saxophone
Chris Flory
guitar
Neal Miner
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Live at the Ear Inn | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Arbors Records


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