7 Songs, 1 Hour, 9 Minutes


About Ellery Eskelin

Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1959. He was raised in a musical home in Baltimore, Maryland, 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 appeared 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 like 1998's Kulak, 29 & 30. More albums followed on Hatology, including 2001's Vanishing Point with violist Mat Maneri, cellist Erik Friedlander, and bassist Mark Dresser, 2003's Arcanum Moderne.

2005's Ten marked the tenth anniversary of Eskelin's trio with Parkins and Black. He then paired with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier for the 2008 duo album Every So Often. A duo album, Inbetween Spaces, appeared in 2010, this time with drummer Gerry Hemingway. He then joined fellow saxophonist David Liebman for 2012's Non Sequiturs, followed by several live albums. 2017's Sensations of Tone found him working in a trio setting with bassist Christian Weber and drummer Michael Griener. ~ Joslyn Layne

    Wichita, KS
  • BORN
    August 16, 1959