Doublewide / John Ellis

Puppet Mischief

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On his sixth album, and second with the Double-Wide quartet, saxophonist John Ellis channels New Orleans via his New York base, although the album is really true to his inspiration of fun fairs and clowns, since it takes off on odd tangents at times, as on "Dubinland Carnival," which has a decidedly woozy edge to the sound, verging on the surreal. The sousaphone bass of Matt Perrine features heavily throughout, as does the harmonica work of guest Gregoire Maret. Ellis himself contributes tenor and bass clarinet, and there's a definite tightness to the group, more apparent than on their last disc. The tunes, all by Ellis, are very playful, adding odd little quotes to the music, then jarring off into the unfamiliar, and taking strange, circuitous routes back. But the scenic way works here, adding to the unusual atmosphere of the disc. It's one to satisfy fans of the band, and brings something a little different to modern jazz while still referring back to its roots.

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