Ellery Eskelin

Arcanum Moderne

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This release furthers the saga of one the more interesting units in modern jazz. Pushing nine years and countless tours, the trio's mark of identity is firmly rooted within improvisation. However, tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin's relatively complex compositions provide a forum for individual ingenuity, witnessed countless times during the band's lengthy tenure. On this effort, recorded in a New York City studio, the threesome explores grooves such as samba, on the aptly titled "It's A Samba," where the band reformulates tradition into a distinctive group sound. Eskelin's robust mode of attack serves as a vortex of sorts for Andrea Parkins' accordion/piano/sampler activities, and drummer Jim Black's personalized rhythmic exercises. Hence, the listener should come to expect the unexpected. It's partly about Eskelin's blustery lines intermixed with Parkins' swirling accordion maneuvers and Black's odd-metered backbeats. At times, the trio moves forward with the semblances of a rumbling freight train, via driving pulses and moments of compositional deconstruction. Nevertheless, the musicians seem equally comfortable when either engaging in a bit of controlled mayhem or executing trance-like choruses and soul-searching lyricism. This is yet another superb effort by one of the best groups in the business.

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