John Ellis and Double Wide to Preview Great New Album Tonight


This evening, January 6, 2009, the saxophonist John Ellis and his latest aggregation, Double Wide, featuring Matt Perrine on sousaphone, Jason Marsalis on drums and Brian Coogan on keyboards, will perform at Snug Harbor for two sets at 8 PM and 10 PM. Though their new album, Puppet Mischief, is not due to be released until February 23rd, they will likely play some of the new compositions.

I have listened to an advance copy of the disc twice and I am happy to report that the music is as interesting, compelling and fascinating as the album’s title suggests. The group has expanded on the concept that was first outlined on their debut recording, Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow. The music on their first effort evoked a playful feeling that reflected the relationship between jazz music and dance.

The new disc mines similar territory stylistically, but this time the focus of Ellis’ tunes is on connections between circus-like whimsy and carnival-style bacchanal. The harmonica of guest artists Gregoire Maret and the trombone of Alan Ferber provide moments of genuine excitement as the sousaphone bubbles and the organ swells like the sounds of a midway barker calling for fun house customers. There is even one song that brought up the feeling of dread some people feel at the prospective of being in close proximity to a clown- at least to my ears. You may hear something different and that is the beauty of these wonderfully inventive tunes that are skillfully brought to life by this dynamic ensemble.

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