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Monday, March 30, 2009

Ellery Eskelin & Sylvie Courvoisier - Every So Often (Prime Source, 2008) ****½

Saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier are both wonderful stylists, who master jazz and modern music perfectly, in all their subgenres, settings, line-ups and other ramifications. Last year they played this great trio album, "As Soon As Possible", with Vincent Courtois, looking for new sounds and modes of expression, a journey they continue here in a duo environment, equally improvised, and even if it is a notch less adventurous, it has a nice warm touch to it. The recording quality of this album is superb, sounding as if both musicians are playing next to you, which gives a nice feeling of closeness and being part of the music. All nine tracks are fully improvised, yet each piece has its distinct sound, elaborated upon by two musicians who can communicate feelings and musical insights as if the approach had been discussed and agreed upon before. Courvoisier is a more of a conceptualist, creating the atmosphere and the scenery, the unexpected angles, the conflict element. Listen to "Open Channel" and how she manages to sound like a trio on her own, creating a small universe by playing piano, percussion and non-descript sounds from the inside of her instrument at the same time. Eskelin adds the human voice, the sensitivity and an exceptional warmth of tone, never raising his tone, sounding like a velvet caress, but finding within these limitations a broad range of subtle sounds in his instrument that sound fresh, deep, new, unexpected, and so right, so right. The combination works extremely well, from the intimate to the more abstract pieces, and it is not all sweet of course, many pieces are headstrong, obstinate and self-willed, focused on the creation rather than on the listener's reception of it, but that's fine, that makes it interesting and challenging. I love it.

Buy from Instantjazz.

Listen to "Architectural"

© stef