ELLERY ESKELIN with ANDREA PARKINS and JIM BLACK – One Great Night… Live

HatOLOGY

Active as a trio for about 17 years now, Eskelin, Parkins and Black were taped at Baltimore’s Towson University on December 9, 2007, a one-off American date – following an European tour – that was also the culmination of a day spent with the local students for a workshop. The latter’s excited interest lighted a different kind of sparkle in the musicians, who performed with transformed vigour and attitude that night, ranging through materials that had already been recorded in the past (except for a piece) with the spirit of innovation that defines artists accustomed to improvisation at deep levels of empathy. Even if the tracks are signed by Eskelin (whose tenor sax is – unmistakably one would say – an incisive presence and the album’s governing force), this CD is a photograph of genuine instrumental egalitarianism. Parkins – on accordion, pianos, organ and sampler – dictates impulsive harmonic shifts with a penchant for asymmetry. Her shapes may challenge a regular development both in terms of rhythm and balance of colours, yet always appear as the most logical choice. Black’s drumming is intelligently slanted, often privileging taciturn reflection to excess of attendance. When the moment comes, though, grooving confluences and unequal scansions join in thorough disrespect of twos and fours, intertwining with Eskelin’s relentless exposition of the idiosyncratic ramifications of a reed-fuelled mental picture. When the threesome launch a free-for-all attack as in “Split The Difference” or shut the doors to placidness in “Instant Counterpoint” – paradoxical jollity and liberal experimentalism ultimately discarded – the triplet’s cojones become suddenly evident.

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