Andrea Parkins - One Great Day... (Music CD)

Release Date: 01 August 2011
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In the liner notes saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Ellery Eskelin explains that oftentimes he finds the recording studio the best medium for "this" music. The audience cannot with their chatter or mood disturb the process of making the music. However, Eskelin is a man who seems to be willing to admit that he can be wrong, both about audiences and his music's best performing medium: This is a live date from the end of the band's first European tour. And this is among his most beautiful records. This band with Andrea Parkins, on an accordion that can do and sound like most anything (as well as her sampler!), and percussion giant Jim Black has been together for a while, and here it shows how symbiotic their relationship is when it comes to not only performing Eskelin's own work, but Roland Kirk's classic "The Inflated Tear." Coming from Baltimore, Eskelin's compositions have much in common with fellow Baltimorean John Waters' films. They mine the tradition for its contradictions and use those as a place to build something new that can only be marked with an individual signature. Eskelin's pieces here, such as the title track, move from a post-bop modality through TV music and melodies respectfully cribbed from Frank Zappa. The syncopation Eskelin employs between his harmonic structures and melodies keeps the listener off his or her feet throughout the work, where surprise is constant, but welcoming. On "Vertical Hold," you hear Eskelin's improvisational voice entering in the guise of his bandmates. Black uses his kit but he also peruses his gig bag for hand-held objects of use as Parkins moves from one sinewy chord voicing to another on the accordion before the entire band snaps out of it and moves into Neal Hefti-esque TV music mode. The chords and repetition create the familiar space for another shift -- this one gradual, to the band moving into free improvisation territory without seeming to have moved from where they were. Unless close attention is paid, you never hear it coming; it's truly wondrous. And Eskelin can compose and play a ballad with the best of them. "Fallen Angel," with Black's playing on the wood of his tom toms is a moving ballad, touched by film noir and Parkins' informing it with Italian tarantella. The soft swing in the front of the tune gives way to a harmonic body where Parkins' microtonality actually creates over tonal ambience and texture that opens up an enormous space on the inside of the tune. Eskelin keeps his playing in the blues as Black and Parkins move through the dark cinema together. It's gorgeous. If you're still reading and wondering about Kirk's piece? You'll have to hear it for yourself to really know how fine an interpretation it is. Eskelin has been on a roll for years now, and shows no signs of slowing down. This is one of America's truly great offerings to the music of the world. Just buy this. ~ Thom Jurek
Release Date: 01 August 2011

1. One Great Day... - Eskelin, Ellery
2. Vertical Hold - Eskelin, Ellery
3. T64K37B - Eskelin, Ellery
4. Too Much Orange - Eskelin, Ellery
5. Fallen Angel - Eskelin, Ellery
6. The The Inflated Tear - Eskelin, Ellery
7. Side Effects - Eskelin, Ellery

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Catalogue No: HATOLOGY691