Morning Song/Evening Song: Ellery Eskelin

Another edition of our new franchise that corners a musician and finds out what he or she listened to before bed and after rising. Sometimes the tunes are deliberately chosen; sometimes they just bubble up as life is being lived. I’ve got requests out to several participants. You’ll see responses every few days during the next few weeks.

Today’s guest blogger is Ellery Eskelin, the intrepid tenor saxophonist with the plush tone and the wide scope of ideas. He’s tipped the hat to Gene Ammons in a fractious session with Marc Ribot, he commandeered an utterly unique trio with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black, and he’s made hay with pals such as Dave Liebman. His latest album is Every So Often, a delicate duet disc with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier. Here he is describing his recent spins.


Lester Young – “Polka Dots & Moonbeams” (YouTube video)
Saw Don Byas on a Basie video and was reminded how “on it” he was in his note choices (not to mention sound and delivery).  Saw some of his videos (including one with Slam Stewart on bass (whose sound I recall clearly from listening to my mother’s record collection, on a Dizzy Gillespie big band record).  From there I went to Lester Young and found this one, which I had not seen before.  Essence.


Johnny Cash – “The Man Comes Around”
Was reading about what would have been his 78th birthday on Friday, and pulled out Johnny Cash American IV: The Man Comes Around.  There’s an essence and vulnerability here.  Very intense without being at all overwrought.  Quite the opposite.

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