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Ellery Eskelin: Ramifications

Glenn Astarita By

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Saxophonist/composer Ellery Eskelin continues his unique and rather intriguing plight on modern jazz with this latest offering titled, Ramifications. Here, the saxophonist performs with his long time musical associates, drummer Jim Black and accordionist, sampler expert Andrea Parkins; however, the addition of cellist Erik Friedlander and tuba maestro Joe Daley presents yet another dimension to the group's sound and style.

On "Penalty Phase," Eskelin creates an ominous tone that lurks atop the bouncy rhythms and heavy bottom as accordionist Andrea Parkins creates subtle backwashes that hint at the main theme while Eskelin and Daley restate the melodies via swift unison choruses. From the onset, it becomes rather evident that the music is brimming with rich textures and multidimensional frameworks! "Ramifications" is dedicated to the saxophonist's infant son Rami Wade and boasts soulful balladry, gobs of emotion, shady musings and compassionate voicings. Whereas "Museum Piece" presents an expansive view of driving rhythms, faint doses of EFX, diminutive themes and Black's polyrhythmic back-beats. Once again, the band pursues a comprehensive polytonal portraiture featuring lucid imagery and complex dialogue.

With "Title Piece," Joe Daley displays total command of the tuba via limber and fluid lines as the band engages slightly abstract funk-rock rhythms and punchy choruses while Eskelin intentionally disintegrates the momentum thanks to his scathing attack. Throughout, the band melds radiant melodies with free-jazz style soloing and multifaceted rhythmic structures along with an air of unpredictability as it all sound so authentic or unaffected.

Personnel: Ellery Eskelin; Tenor Saxophone & Composer: Andrea Parkins; Accordion & Sampler: Erik Friedlander; Cello: Joe Daley; Tuba: Jim Black; Drums & Percussion.

Title: Ramifications | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Hat Hut Records

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