Ellerry Eskelin (ts), Michael Formanek (b), Susan Alcorn (g),
Also Available on iTunes
Listeners have come to expect the unexpected from tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, especially with respect to the musical settings in which he places himself. His long-running group with accordionist Andrea Parkins and beat-oriented drummer Jim Black may have seemed strange in it’s beginnings but over time their logic became clear and the strange began to seem normal, even necessary. With his new working group “Trio New York” Eskelin delivers the unexpected even in this more traditional lineup with Hammond B-3 recycler Gary Versace and another innovator of the drum-kit, Gerald Cleaver.
With “MIRAGE” Eskelin presents us with another “unique” formula, this time combining his modern (yet impressively well informed) tenor sound with Susan Alcorn’s ethereal pedal steel guitar and Michael Formanek’s grounded acoustic double bass. This top-flight veteran tenor saxophonist continues to take risks and open new frontiers in jazz-based improvisation, even beyond the issue of instrumentation – for instance, his tone, phrasing and melodic conception is completely his own, even as he is keenly aware of the history and tradition associated with his instrument. The concept behind “Mirage” rests squarely with Eskelin as well, yet as with each of his past projects, the group sound is equally defined by the personalities of each musician. Alcorn’s contribution in this new proposal is key. No country & western / jazz fusion here, but instead a clever, fresh, luminous reinvention of an instrument and its vocabulary. Bassist Formanek’s contribution is equally essential, giving the music much of it’s warmth and expansive reach.