Eskelin is such a fine player that, like the best jazz musicians, every note he blows seems just right. For this session, he augmented his trio (drummer Jim Black and accordionist Andrea Parkins) with cellist Erik Friedlander and tubaist Joe Daley, and although these are two outstanding players, he does not seem quite sure what to do with them. Eskelin describes some of the seven compositions as "episodic (overall balance being the key issue)" and others as "cut whole from the same cloth," but in the end this studio recording does not stand up to the pared down trio with which the saxophonist seems much more comfortable. There is a disconcerting meandering static quality that seeps in and saps the energy from the group interaction. Some of the characteristic humor found on other Eskelin sessions is missing, too. Still, there are the usual strong efforts from the trio members, including the leader. With so many fine albums released under Eskelin's name (on this label and elsewhere), there are better places to discover the work of this great player.
by Steve Loewy