Ellery EskelinView in iTunes
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Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin was born in Wichita, KS, in 1959. He was raised in a musical home in Baltimore, MD, by his mother, Bobbie Lee, who played Hammond B-3 organ and led her own jazz groups during the '60s. Eskelin began playing the tenor saxophone when he was ten years old and knew immediately that he wanted to be a jazz player. He began working professionally while still in high school, and in 1973, began attending annual week-long summer residences with Stan Kenton & His Orchestra at Towson State University, where from 1977 to 1981 he was a student. In 1983, Eskelin moved to N.Y.C. to study and play, and it was here that he first really listened to music by his father Rodd Keith, who worked in the song poem industry during the '60s and '70s. Although Keith became a sort of cult figure due to his music, Eskelin was not as musically influenced by his father since he did not hear his music until this later date. Four years later, Eskelin appears on his first recording, Joint Venture, with Drew Gress and Paul Smoker, released by the Enja label. Over the years, Eskelin has developed a strong individual approach, combining jazz roots with various concepts of independence and role changing in an attempt to play freely, while still paying attention to harmony, time, and form. In 1994, he formed a trio with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black which has released structurally tight and enjoyable albums, mostly on the Hatology label. Eskelin has released over 20 albums as a leader and has appeared as a sideman on numerous other releases. ~ Joslyn Layne