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Ehran Elisha Ensemble: The Lowdown

Derek Taylor By

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Drummer Elisha is one of those players that operates just below the prevailing radar screen in creative improvised music and his work as a leader, in spite of an earlier solid offering on CIMP ( The Kicker ), has yielded only checkered recognition thus far. The same can actually be safely said for each of the other members of this six-piece ensemble. Campbell is arguably the most high profile among them, due mainly to his associations with high profile players such as William Parker and Peter Brötzmann. As is indicative of much of this music the musicians’ comparative anonymity has absolutely no correlation with their level of talent.

Like the earlier date, which incidentally enlisted many of the same musicians, a multi-sectional suite that chimes in at almost an hour dominates this new offering. What’s surprising is the unconventional temporal space that these men tap into and work through. Their working space exists beyond the usual constraints of clearly defined tempo and interval without the loss of the least bit of momentum. In their grip the row of minutes that comprises the disc is upended and denuded of its ability to tire. Lassitude and tedium are abolished in one fell swoop of Elisha’s precisely measured sticks and time is suspended. Before one knows it nearly a full rotation of the hour hand has elapsed and the Suite concludes. Along the way, out of the reach of chronometric influences the players move through a medley of combinations and voicings. Lowe’s unctuous tuba in playful tandem with Gress’ splayed strings on “Thank You For Coming to Lowe’s,” Bindman’s uncredited flute that weaves above somber layers of violin and tuba on the opening of “Summer Soul,” Elisha’s rolling beats beneath a trio of twining horns on “Loose Juice”- these are but a few of the numerous sonic snapshots framed by the aural matting of this enlivening music.

Anyone with time to kill would be wise to sacrifice the necessary minutes at the altar of this music. The payback for opening the ears to the lowdown offered by these players is plentiful both on visceral and cognitive levels and time traded is well worth the bargain gained.

Tracks:What Do We Know?/ The Lowedown: A Kinetic Music Suite (a. Ibidi, b. Thank You For Coming to Lowe’s..., c. Summer Soul, d. Loose Juice)/ Placemat Histories.

Players:Ehran Elisha- drums; Bill Lowe- bass trombone, tuba; Roy Campbell, Jr.- trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet; David Bindman- tenor saxophone; Sam Bardfeld- violin; Drew Gress- doublebass.

Recorded: August 9 & 10, 1999, Rossie, NY.

CIMP recordings are available directly from North Country Distributors:

Title: The Lowdown | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: CIMP Records


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