Ellery Eskelin

Ellery Eskelin is a pioneer in the world of improvised music. He is based in New York City and has travelled extensively performing, recording, and amassing an extensive and iconic body of work. Ellery Eskelin is deeply committed to jazz and American music traditions. This apparent contradiction is embodied by Eskelin with ease. Eskelin does not view jazz as a style, idiom or genre but rather as a process. He sees jazz as a process of creative growth that is relevant to today’s times. Eskelin is a tireless pursuer of this goal, delivering to the public pure, passionate music without any excuses or apologies. Ellery Eskelin, a Baltimore native, was born in 1959 and started playing the tenor-saxophone when he was ten years old. He was inspired by his mother Bobbie Lee who played the Hammond B3 organ professionally during the early sixties. Eskelin relocated to New York City in 1983 and began recording with the cooperative Joint Venture. This group also helped him gain exposure on the European international tour circuit. Eskelin soon formed his first project as a leader, a trio consisting of Drew Gress (bass) and Phil Haynes (drummer). This was followed by a group with Joe Daley on tuba along with Arto Tuncboyaciyan (bakdav drums u0026 percussion), shortly thereafter. In 1992, Eskelin joined Joey Baron’s “Baron Down” group (instrumentation drums, trombone, and saxophone). This was a significant catalyst for his own work and encouraged he to explore unusual instruments. Eskelin was the first to form the band that he is most associated with, which included guitarist Jim Black and Andrea Parkins, the accordionist. He has composed over 50 compositions for the group to date, and each one has been recorded on a series CD releases by Swiss record label hatHUT. Over the past 20 years, the band has been on tour regularly and has performed hundreds of concerts throughout Europe, the USA and Canada. The most recent Eskelin project is “Trio New York”, which features guitarist Gary Versace and drummer Gerald Cleaver. “Trio New York” is a free approach that Eskelin takes to the great American songbook. It brings Eskelin back to his musical roots and addresses his many musical journeys. Eskelin has also been involved in a variety of side projects, including a group with guitarist Marc Ribot, drummer Kenny Wollesen, and improvisatory duos featuring Han Bennink, as well as special ensembles consisting of strings and vibraphone, which perform completely improvised music. Eskelin has also developed many important relationships with musicians like Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Helias over the years. Eskelin was also a side-person and worked with a wide range of jazz, avant, and new-music musicians, including Brother Jack McDuff, Mikel Rouse and Eugene Chadbourne. Eskelin’s recordings, as both a leader or co-leader, (currently twenty), have been named in Best of the Year polls by The Village Voice, The New York Times and other major jazz magazines, in the US and internationally. As a sideman, he appears on more than fifty recordings. DownBeat Magazine listed Eskelin among the 25 Rising Stars of the Future in January 2000 (“…players (“players who not just insure the music’s survival, but also promise to take it the next level”) and included him in the “Talent deserving of Wider Recognition” category of its Annual Critics Poll in 1998. 2001, 2002. 2003. 2004. Eskelin was a nominee for the prestigious Danish Jazzpar award in 2003 and was the recipient of a Chamber Music America French-American Exchange grant in 2007 as well as a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant in 2009. from http://home.earthlink.net/~eskelin/Site/Ellery Eskelin.html

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