Years on the road and numerous recording for Swiss-based Hatology Records have generated a distinguished musical persona for tenor sax titan Ellery Eskelin and his band. Here, drummer Jim Black and accordionist/sampler Andrea Parkins assist with moving the torch forward. But the addition of vocalist Jessica Constable and French vocalist/keyboardist Philippe Gelda rein in a new stylistic vamp on this two-CD set produced for Eskelin's Prime Source label.
Intact are Parkins' quirky accordion passages and Black's offbeat rhythmic maneuvers. With Eskelin's circuitous and power-packed tenor lines, the band maintains a rolling and tumbling gait chock full of asymmetrically-designed, free form encounters. Yet Constable's wordless vocalizing instills either a sense of harrowing urgency or a sublime sequence of musical events that augment the ensemble's intersecting components. And they inject free improvisation type meltdowns, where the band seamlessly morphs a potpourri of calming effects into a robust group sound, enamored by the artists' acutely-placed dynamics.
On "Split The Difference the musicians render a medium-tempo swing vibe, spiced with a few bump and grind motifs as Parkins' accordion comping provides a rhythmic enhancer for Eskelin's blustery solo. The scenario changes a bit during "La Berceuse d'Angela, featuring Constable and Gelda's operatic vocals that set an archetype for a solemn diversion.
In sum, this recent outing transmits Eskelin's music in a prismatic manner. Not totally unrelated or distanced from previous endeavors, but more of a foray that expounds upon many principles iterated in the recent past. It's a recording that conveys an attractively slanted musical viewpoint amid a bevy of subtle surprises.
Track Listing: Disc One: Coordinated universal time; I should have known; 48 A & B; Read my mind; Instant counterpoint; How do I know; Quiet music; Disc Two: Split the difference; Cuarenta y neueve; The curve; Let
Personnel: Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Jessica Constable: voice; Andrea Parkins: piano, organ, accordion, sampler; Philippe Gelda: voice, piano, organ; Jim Black: drums, percussion.
I was first exposed to jazz as a child in Boston and at a Sun Ra concert.
I met Jaco Pastorius as a teenager in NYC.
The best show I ever attended was The Gap Band.
The first jazz record I bought was Heavy Weather.