Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
272

John Ellis: One Foot in the Swamp

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
John Ellis: One Foot in the Swamp If, as the title of his new album suggests, saxophonist John Ellis has one foot in the swamp—meaning the Southern-fried funk of New Orleans, where he spent his formative musical years and recorded his new disc—his other foot is firmly planted in the more adventurous modern jazz scene of his current base here in New York. It's that mix of North and South, Big Easy and Big Apple, funk and futuristic sounds that makes Ellis one of the more exciting young artists to emerge in recent years.

A key member of guitar whiz Charlie Hunter's group, Ellis is a fluid, expressive tenor player with chops to spare. And he's lined up a first-rate band to support him, including Aaron Goldberg on electric keyboards and the Crescent City rhythm section of Jason Marsalis on drums and Roland Guerin on bass; plus special guests John Scofield on guitar, Nicholas Payton on trumpet, and harmonica virtuouso Gregoire Maret. The album opens in a funk vein, with the loping groove of the aptly titled "Happy, but then turns in a more challenging post bop direction with such fine original compositions as "Work in Progress, "Bonus Round and "Seeing Mice. Scofield turns in some especially nasty licks on "One for the Kelpers, another funk number set to a New Orleans shuffle. The album's most memorable tune is the closer, "Sippin' Cider, an irresistible foot-tapping reworking of a folk tune with an insistent Big Easy beat laid down by Marsalis and Guerin.

Throughout, Ellis seamlessly mixes his down-home roots with NYC sophistication, making this entertaining and provocative album one of the early year's big successes.


Track Listing: Happy; Work in Progress; Country Girls; Bonus Round; Seeing Mice; One for the Kelpers; Ostinato; Michael Finnegan; Chalmette Shawarma; Sippin Cider

Personnel: John Ellis, tenor and soprano sax; bass clarinet; ocarina; Nicholas Payton, trumpet; Gregoir Maret, chromatic harmonica; John Scofield, guitar; Aaron Goldberg, keyboards; Jason Marsalis, drums; Roland Guerin, bass.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Hyena Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

  • Lonnie
    Lonnie
    John Ellis
    By A Thread
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Charm
Charm
Parade Light
2015
buy
MOBRO
MOBRO
Parade Light Records
2014
buy
It's You I Like
It's You I Like
Criss Cross Jazz
2012
buy
Puppet Mischief
Puppet Mischief
ObliqSound
2010
buy
Dance Like There's No Tomorrow
Dance Like There's No...
Hyena Records
2008
buy
By a Thread
By a Thread
Hyena Records
2006
buy
Roy Hargrove Roy Hargrove
trumpet
Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
saxophone
Kenny Garrett Kenny Garrett
sax, alto
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard
trumpet
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
Michael Brecker Michael Brecker
sax, tenor
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Joshua Redman Joshua Redman
saxophone
Joe Henderson Joe Henderson
sax, tenor
Jaleel Shaw Jaleel Shaw
sax, alto

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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