The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Daniel Sarid Trio: Leventuruos (OutNow Recordings)

Adventurous/Leventuruos is a good description of the articulate, sophisticated, and exciting trio work that Israeli pianist Daniel Sarid, double bassist Gilad Abro, and drummer Ziv Ravitz present, in 8 dynamic pieces that balance free, rapid and lyrical jazz. ... Click to View


Josh Sinton / Dominic Lash: Signal Gain (OutNow Recordings)

Multi-reedist Josh Sinton and double bassist Dominic Lash spent a year researching early forms of free-form playing, inviting guests Nate Wooley, Indrid Laubrock, Kyoko Kitamura, and Alex Ward to record the results with them, heard in this outstanding set of recordings from duo to sextet. ... Click to View


Frank Gratkowski / Sebi Tramontana: Live At Spanski Borci (Leo)

A wonderfully playful and buoyant duo between trombonist Sebi Tramontana and reedist Frank Gratkowski performing on bass clarinet, clarinet, and alto saxophone, performing livea at Spanski Borci Theatre, in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2016 over 15 concise and compelling dialogs. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Karl Berger / Gerald Cleaver: The Art Of The Impov Trio Volume 1 (Leo)

Saxophonist Ivo Perelman is the anchor for the 6 volumes of "The Art of the Improv Trio", here with Karl Berger on piano and Gerald Cleaver on drums in a lyrical album that flows with grace and thoughtfulness, from ballad introspection to uptempo excitement, an impressive start to the series. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Mat Maneri / Whit Dickey: The Art Of The Improv Trio Volume 2 (Leo)

The second volume of New York/Brazilian saxophonist Ivo Perelman's 6-part series "The Art of the Improv Trio" is the most unique of the set, with Mat Maneri on viola and Whit Dickey on drums for a series of thirteen shorter and more intricate works of great range and diversity. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver: The Art Of The Impov Trio Volume 4 (Leo)

The 4th volume in Brazilian/New York saxophonist Ivo Perelman's exemplary 6-part series "The Art of the Improv Trio" bring together bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver for a 3-part set of free improvisation, beautifully flowing dialog of masterful playing. ... Click to View


Joelle Leandre: No Comment (Fou Records)

Two exemplary solo sets from the truly distinctive and commanding French double bassist and vocalist Joelle Leandres recorded at Vancouver Jazz Festival, Western Front, Vancouver, Canada, in June 1995 and at The Ibleo Jazz Festival in Ragusa, Italy in October, 1994. ... Click to View


Willem Breuker Kollektief: Angouleme, 18 Mai 1980 [2 CDs] (Fou Records)

The late Willem Breuker Kollektief's was an ensemble focusing on jazz roots in theatrical and dramatic performances, emphasing the fun aspects of historic jazz bands with energetic orchestration and soloing, described as a "mix of circus music, jazz and improvisation". ... Click to View


Peter Kowald / Daunik Lazro / Annick Nozati: Instants Chavires (Fou Records)

Recordings from 2000 at Instants Chavires in Montreuil, France from the free improvising trio of Peter Kowald on double bass, Daunik Lazro on alto & baritone sac, and Annick Nozati on voice, in a uniquely informed dialog representing the only time this masterful trio performed. ... Click to View


Tiziano Tononi And Southbound: Trouble No More... All Men Are Brothers (Long Song Records)

Italian drummer and percussionist Tiziano Tononi leads a large ensemble performing the music of American Rock Band The Allman Brothers, who Tononi cites as a major influence in his life for both their style, incorporating jazz, blues, southern rock and New Orleans cross-rhythms. ... Click to View


Sirom: I (Amorfon)

Silom is a Slovenian creative music trio using a variety of string, percussive, and melodic percussive instruments, focused on the acoustic aspects of complex evolving works that combine composed and improvised aspects to create rich music with ancient ethnic overtones. ... Click to View


Yoshio Machinda : Tender Blues (Amorfon)

Japanese Steelpan player Yoshio Machida's 11th solo album, performed on the metal slit drum, made from a small gas tank tuned to the C scale over 2 octaves, which he takes into warm territories of rich overtones and melodic invention influenced by Kora, Gamelan, Kulintang and Myanmar musics. ... Click to View


Matt Mitchell plays Tim Berne: Forage (Screwgun)

Pianist Matt Mitchell, a member of saxophonist Tim Berne's Snakeoil, releases a solo album of Berne compositions, taking the reedist's typically frenetic material into unexpected territory, revealing dark beauty and intensely introspective aspects to Berne's music. ... Click to View


Trouble Kaze (Fujii / Agnel / Tamura / Pruvost / Lasserre / Orins): June (Helix Circum-Disc)

Drummer Peter Orins expands the Kaze quartet of trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost and pianist Satoko Fujii, with a second drummmer--Didier Lasserre--and a second pianist--Sophie Agnel--for a live recording of a 5-part suite of magnificently epic collective improv. ... Click to View


Nuova Camerata : Chant (Improvising Beings)

Lisbon's Nuova Camerata brings together a mix of improvisers and contemporary classical players--Carlos Zingaro, Joao Camoes, Ulrich Mitzlaff, Miguel Leiria on string with Pedro Carneiro on marimba--for a set of improvisations bridging both disciplines in passionate and unexpected ways. ... Click to View


MarsaFouty (Jean-Luc Foussat / Fred Marty): Concerts (Fou Records)

Synth improviser Jean-Marc Foussat and double bassist Fred Marty join their names and playing together for an absolutely impressive album of exploratory improv, Foussat taking their music into hallucinatory territories while Marty provides both a solid anchor and flights of textural nuance; supberb. ... Click to View


John Cage : Cartridge Music (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

A 2003 recording from The Ensemble Daswirdas performing John Cage's 1960 composition "Cartridge Music", described as: "For amplified small sounds; also amplified piano or cymbal; any number of players and loudspeakers; parts to be prepared from score by performers." ... Click to View


Luigi Nono / Jurg Frey: Works For Violin Duos (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Two works from two distinctive composers from different periods--Jurg Frey and Luigi Nono--both for two violins, Frey using the two violins in parallel to emphasize their distinction; Nono using powerful gestures of divergence and contrast in a dream-like duo. ... Click to View


Luke Martin: So Softly That It Came, A Wild Dim Chatter, Meaningless (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Luke Martin began this work with a field recording at Mentryville Park in Southern California, which was transcribed by himself and Amy Golden, Ben Levinson, Davy Sumner, and Ryan Gaston using Martin's system of notating silence, then combined into the final score for this recording. ... Click to View


I Am Three (Eberhard / Neuser / Marien): Mingus Mingus Mingus (Leo)

Saxophonist Silke Eberhard leads her trio with Nikolaus Neuser on trumpet and Christian Marien on drums, through a distillation of well known and lesser known Mingus tunes, restricting each tune to its essence in 3-4 minute renderings focusing on Mingus' compositional strength. ... Click to View


Simon Nabatov: Monk 'N' More (Leo)

Pianist Simon Nabatov plays the music of Thelonious Monk in a live concert from 1995, alternating those recordings with a 2013 concert of solo electroacoustic work, an unusual approach that focuses the melodic aspects of Monk while highlighting his eccentricity and intrepidity ... Click to View


Trio Kimmig (Kimmig / Studer / Zimmerline / John Butcher): Raw (Leo)

The Swiss string trio led by violinist Harald Kimmig, with Daniel Studer on bass and Alfred Zimmerlin on cello, is joined by UK saxophonist John Butcher for a set of improvisations that build with a unique percussive vitality and burning intensity. ... Click to View


John Zorn: The Garden Of Earthly Delights (Tzadik)

Composer John Zorn's Simulacrum ensemble of Trevor Dunn (bass), John Medeski (keyboards), Kenny Grohowski (drums), Matt Hollenberg (guitar), and Sara Serpa (voice) in their 6th album of heavy improv, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the passing of painter Hieronymus Bosch. ... Click to View


Jack Wright / Roughhousing: You Haven't Heard This Yet (Spring Garden Music)

The trio of Jack Wright on sax, Evan Lipson on double bass, and Zachary Darrup on guitar and objects, from a long history of camaraderie have developed a rough-neck style of interacting, here in long recording, released with 7 solo sax recordings from Wright. ... Click to View


Harris Eisenstadt : Recent Developments (Songlines)

NY Composer and percussionist Harris Eisenstadt furthers his exploration into long-form composition and unusual instrumentation in his 20th release as a bandleader, with a spectacular improv ensemble including Nate Wooley, Jeb Bishop, Han Roberts, Anna Webber, &c. &c. ... Click to View


Jean-Marc Foussat / Sylvain Guerineau / Joe McPhee: Quod (Fou Records)

Experimental improvisation from three masterful players --Joe McPhee on soprano sax, Sylvain Guerineau on tenor saxophone, and Jean-Marc Foussat on synthesizer and voice--recording in France in 2010 for two extended works of concentrated and diverse dialog. ... Click to View


Derek Bailey / Joelle Leandre / George Lewis / Evan Parker : 28 Rue Dunois Juillet 1982 (Fou Records)

A superb encounter from France in 1928 between four masters in a fertile and creative period: Derek Bailey (guitar), Joelle Leandre (double bass), George Lewis (trombone), and Evan Parker (saxophone), each bringing incredible experience to their enduring collective music. ... Click to View


Cecile & Jean-Luc Cappozzo: Soul Eyes (Fou Records)

A delicate album of melodic free playing from trumpeter Jean-Luc Cappozzo and his partner Cecile Cappozzon piano, covering the work of Charles Mingus ("Pithecantropus Erectus", "Goodbye Porkpie Hat") and Mal Waldron ("No More Tears," "The Seagulls of Kristiansund"). ... Click to View


Brotzmann / Van Hove / Bennink (w/ Albert Mangelsdorff): Elements [VINYL] (Cien Fuegos)

In 1971 the quartet of Peter Brotzmann on tenor sax, Fred Van Hove on piano, Han Bennink on drums, and Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone took the stage at The Free Music Market in Berlin to perform this aggressive and informed album of prime European Free Improvisation. ... Click to View


Brotzmann / Van Hove / Bennink (w/ Albert Mangelsdorff): Couscouss de la Mauresque [VINYL] (Cien Fuegos)

The early 70s trio of tenor saxophonist Peter Brotzmann with Fred Van Hove on piano, Han Bennink on drums is joined by trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff for a live recording at Free Music Market, in Berlin for two extended and fiery improvisations of incredible skill and drive. ... Click to View


Email:



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales



  EEwAP+JB(10)  

Ellery Eskelin's Trio with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black Marks 10 Years Together


By Kurt Gottschalk 2004-05-10

Greatness isn't measured on the clock. The Beatles recorded for a scant six years, and - depending on how you slice it - were together for about nine. John Coltrane's "classic quartet" coalesced in 1961 with a line-up that lasted until 1965. And the Sex Pistols changed the world in less than two years.

Marking their tenth anniversary, then, isn't what makes Ellery Eskelin's trio with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black great. But it's a milestone worth marking, and an event the group is celebrating with a new cd (their ninth for the Swiss label HatHut) which finds the trio joined by guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist Melvin Gibbs. Eskelin also shot, edited and released a dvd documenting the band's 2003 European tour. Another tour this year is taking them across the US, to Portugal and then to Quebec, where they'll open the 21st annual Victoriaville festival. If simple longevity didn't make them great, hard work, regular recording and annual trips across America and Europe did.

Ellery Eskelin with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black (as they are properly billed - "I really think 'Ellery Eskelin Trio' is way too polite for this band," Eskelin said) made its first public appearance on March 20, 1994, at the old Knitting Factory on Houston Street in lower Manhattan. On the heels of a more traditional line-up with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Phil Haynes, Eskelin had a particular new sound for which he was searching.

"When I put my band together, I was really looking for an accordionist," he said. At the time, he was intrigued with some European players - including Hans Hassler and Jean-Louis Matinier - but was interested in finding someone in the States. He drew up a list, he said, but Andrea Parkins kept coming up as he talked to other musicians.

He was already playing with Black ("Jim I had met somewhat before that time," he said - "We got together in late '93 and I just dug the sound immediately."), when he went to hear Parkins play with Ikue Mori at New York City's Roulette. In adding her to the line-up, he got someone who was already versed in keyboards, sampler, organ and piano as well. "I decided to use that because it was obviously a strong part of her thing," he said. "Her approach is not idiomatically jazz-oriented, so to get her to play things that go in that direction, you get some really interesting results."

From the beginning, he said, he had in mind forming a working unit.

"I was thinking of it as a band for sure," Eskelin said. "I knew it was going to be more than just a one-time project. Given the instrumentation, I think it surprised people when we did more than a couple of gigs and made more than one record. In the beginning, I might have seen three records as a reasonable achievement."

Parkins recalled approaching that first performance with apprehension and excitement.

"I remember the night," she said. "It was packed. I don't know if it was packed because of us or because John Zorn played after us. I wasn't sure what he was after, and I wasn't sure I could make it work. In order to make Ellery's music work, there's something tranformational that happens, there's a kind of sense of the moment. I remember thinking, 'I think this is good, but I'm not sure.'"

The trio soon reached Eskelin's three-record "reasonable achievement" and went well beyond. Their first release, Jazz Trash, issued by Songlines in 1994, was interesting for the instrumentation, but showed little of what the band would become.

"I've gone back and listened to that and thought, 'Yeah, that's definitely a first record by a band with a concept," Eskelin said. "It's not like the band got better; it changed. But I don't think I could go back and improve on Jazz Trash. I'm thrilled with that record. I think all the records are different enough to warrant having made them. It's more about documenting the changes and not a trajectory of getting better and better and better. Jazz Trash had a certain charm to it. It was kind of rickety in some ways, but I love that sound."

Soon after, they began a fruitful relationship with Hat Hut, and perhaps there is the argument for what makes a band thrive for a decade. With funding initially from the Swiss Bank Corporation and then private sponsorship from the furniture company Vitra and its chairman Rolf Fehlbaum, the band was able to work with some promise of a future, essentially a five-year recording and touring contract starting in 1998 - something unusual in the current jazz market. While such a relationship undoubtedly helped the band create and work toward a vision, securing that relationship, according to drummer Black, was another part of Eskelin's talent.

"He is really good at getting people to do handshakes and getting things done," Black said. "It's been very good for the band."

At first, the band was trying to find the sound Eskelin heard, something based on his love of old gutsy saxophone and organ trios but with challenging arrangements and mutations.

"It was a question of what exactly was this music we were playing," said Black. "I mean, it sounded good on paper, it made sense right away, but I was like 'OK, how can we do this?' There's a combination of elements that you've not quite heard before, and that's exciting."

For Parkins, the energy and overt emotions, the jazziness of the heads in Eskelin's compositions, were a surprise.

"He has charts that reek of majorness," she said. "I remember being really freaked out about it. I thought, 'Is this good?' It felt like too much flavor, corny.

"Right now, I think we're a great pop band," she added. "There's a lot of heartfelt, thematic, uncynical chord progressions that happen with a sense of rhythm. It is a tension and it works really well."

As they've grown into their sound, the band has worked backwards in a sense, from working through charts to employing more improvisation. 12 + (1) Imaginary Views, released in 2001, was the group's first all-improv outing. A new record, with guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist Melvin Gibbs, is due out later this year.

"Each idea [on Imaginary Views] was real simple: OK we're gonna start an improv, but during that improvisation I want this to happen," Eskelin said. "Like "Middle C," it's just a middle C on the staff. I think when I showed it to them, they laughed at me. It was the first time I said, 'Here's the material and I'm not going to arrange it.'"

"Middle C" might epitomize the trio's sympatico. The track opens with Eskelin's soulful playing, some scattered percussion and a sort of synthesized gong from Parkins. A drum roll and a swell of sound from the keyboard, a moment of organ and in about 90 seconds they find the piece, a nervously building trichotomy. Parkins overlays accordion, Black gets busier, drops out and returns. Just before the four-minute mark, they settle into a succinct, logical ending.

"We're thinking about middle C and we drop in and out," said Black. "I think it's a really good piece. The simplest idea could be a whole world in itself, given to the right people."

The piece is a tight piece of music, almost - as Parkins might put it - a pop song. It sounds as if it could have been a full score, but it's really just the work of a band that knows how to play together.

"I do admire the whole idea of having a band," he said. "I like one-offs - the first time I played with Han Bennink we shook hands five minutes before we hit the stage."

But that kind of spontaneity, he said, is a very different thing than the relationships built over years of playing together. He cites as an example NRBQ, the wide-ranging countrified blues and jazz group formed by Terry Adams in 1967. Eskelin had the chance to play with them recently at Brooklyn's Northsix.

"From the first few notes of the soundcheck, the feel was just awesome," he said. I thought this was the real thing. There's no other way to get that except for just being on the road constantly. And it was just as loose as any jazz gig I've been involved in. I realized that's a band, and what a wonderful thing to have bands out there."

Eskelin was raised in a musical household, listening to Gene Ammons (to whom he later paid tribute on the excellent The Sun Died with Marc Ribot and Kenny Wollesen), Stan Getz and Sonny Stitt as a child. Later, he discovered Coltrane's Giant Steps, and then Interstellar Space, which he described as a "revelation." But the music in the house wasn't just coming from the record player.

"I grew up listening to my mother play Hammond B-3 organ," he said. "When I was 10 years old, I decided I wanted to play saxophone and be a jazz musician."

But when Eskelin moved to New York in 1983, he found the old-school approach of woodshedding and auditioning for heroes was disappearing.

"You don't have apprenticeships anymore," he said. "I remember going to sit in with Art Blakely and trying to get noticed, and I just had to go and do my own thing. I got pieces of that, but I realized things were different. The 10-year-old kid who wanted to play jazz and had his idols never really got satisfaction. By the time I was on the scene, a lot of those people were dead and there were lots and lots of young saxophone players."

Instead he built his own house, playing with his contemporaries (notably with Joey Baron's Baron Down with Steve Swell) and started making tracks as a leader. He was named one of "25 for the Future" by Downbeat in 1999 and the trio was described in the British newspaper The Guardian as a band that "knows how to play simultaneously from the head and the heart, and for whom musical risk-taking has become a way of life."

The group brings in guests occasionally, as with the new project with Ribot and Gibbs or their ongoing collaboration with vocalist Jessica Constable. But they never uses substitute members, ensuring a consistency in sound. Still, that sound always has its origins in Eskelin's pen. They've recorded pieces by Monk, John McLaughlin, Lennie Tristano, Charlie Haden, Coltrane, Gershwin and even Eugene Chadbourne, but even with two other composers in the band, the songbook is written by the leader.

"I haven't thought about that really" Black said, when asked about bringing his own compositions to the group. "Ellery's never asked and I've never suggested. We're already bringing our music in every time. We don't need to mess it up with more charts."

Parkins concurred. "I think Ellery would be open to it, but [Jim and I] both have our own outlets," she said. "It's really been about Ellery's vision, but he gives us so much room.

"It's engaging on every level, and what could be better than that?" she added. "I think it's really rare that you get to do that in your professional life. The only thing that's not challenging is how we get along, and that's good."

It's a chemistry that would seem to ensure if not another decade at least plenty of time on the road in the years to come.

"I don't take it for granted that it's going to last forever," he said. "Every year that it goes on, I say, 'Hey, great!'

"It's still challenging, it's still developing," he added. "There's a lot more there than you would think given that instrumentation. I has more to do with the people than the instruments."

And it's a safe guess those people will be along for the ride.

""I'm not in a rush to stop," Parkins said. "So far he seems excited about continuing. If he's there, I'm there."






To discuss this article click here





The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

Squidco

Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Trouble Kaze (
Fujii /
Agnel /
Tamura /
Pruvost /
Lasserre /
Orins):
June
(Helix Circum-Disc)



MarsaFouty (
Jean-Luc Foussat /
Fred Marty):
Concerts
(Fou Records)



Matt Mitchell plays Tim Berne:
Forage
(Screwgun)



I Am Three (
Eberhard /
Neuser /
Marien):
Mingus Mingus Mingus
(Leo)



Simon Nabatov:
Monk 'N' More
(Leo)



Derek Bailey /
Joelle Leandre /
George Lewis /
Evan Parker :
28 Rue Dunois
Juillet 1982
(Fou Records)



Brotzmann /
Van Hove /
Bennink (
w/ Albert Mangelsdorff):
The End
[VINYL]
(Cien Fuegos)



Michel Banabila :
Sound Years
[VINYL]
(Tapu Record)



Harris Eisenstadt :
Recent Developments
(Songlines)



Johannes Bauer /
Peter Brotzmann:
Blue City (
Live At
Blue City Osaka /
Japan 16.
October 1997)
(Trost Records)



Will Guthrie:
People Pleaser
[VINYL]
(Black Truffle)



Bucher /
Tan /
Countryman:
Acceptance - Resistance
(Improvising Beings)



Ruins:
Burning Stone
[REISSUE]
(Magaibutsu Limited)



Brotzmann /
Van Hove /
Bennink (
w/ Albert Mangelsdorff):
Couscouss de
la Mauresque
[VINYL]
(Cien Fuegos)



Brotzmann /
Van Hove /
Bennink (
w/ Albert Mangelsdorff):
Elements
[VINYL]
(Cien Fuegos)



Neukollner (
Denzler /
von Schlippenbach /
Grip /
Johansson):
Sektion 3-7
[2 CDs]
(Umlaut Records)



Jean-Marc Foussat :
L'oiseau
(Fou Records)



Michael Pisaro (
w/ Didier Aschour /
Stephane Garin):
Resting in
a Fold of
the Fog
(Potlatch)



Jean-Marc Foussat :
L'oiseau
[VINYL]
(Fou Records)



Sylvain Guerineau /
Kent Carter /
Itaru Oki /
Makoto Sato:
D'Une Rive A L'Autre
(Improvising Beings)







Squidco
Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear






The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?




The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (8271)