Friday, April 8, 2022

Music from last century…

Work on the archive slowed these past months as I searched for someone who owned a working DAT machine.  Interesting how a new audio format hits the scene with great excitement only to be rendered obsolete within a relatively short amount of time.  Fortunately my friend Mikel Rouse (composer and subject of the previous post) came to the rescue and transferred a slew of tapes, a select number of which I’ve added to the Band Camp archive.  These recordings are of an earlier vintage than the rest, starting in 1992 with my first solo concert, recorded live at the old Knitting Factory.  That’s thirty years ago to the month I dare say, not sure how I feel about that.  The years 1994 and 1995 are also represented with the very first performances of “EE w/Andrea Parkins & Jim Black”, also from the Knitting Factory.  These early recordings by the band reveal a somewhat different sound and conception than our later work.  Additionally there is a live recording of the ensemble that recorded the release “Ramifications” in which cellist Erik Friedlander and tubist Joseph Daley were added to the mix.  Beyond these DAT finds I have added a couple more recordings made from the same portable recorder that was used on much of the previous batch and to which I’ve applied some sonic improvement.  One is a duo with drummer Gerry Hemingway from The Stone and the other is a trio with pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn and bassist Michael Formanek from the Cornelia Street Cafe.  Here are the links:

From the Archives: Ellery Eskelin - Solo Live in NYC, 1992
From the Archives: Ellery Eskelin w/Andrea Parkins & Jim Black - Live in NYC, 1994 & 1995 (early years compilation)
From the Archives: Ellery Eskelin, Andrea Parkins, Erik Friedlander, Joseph Daley, Jim Black - Live at The New School in NYC, 2000
From the Archives: Ellery Eskelin and Gerry Hemingway - Live at The Stone in NYC, 2010
From the Archives: Ellery Eskelin, Susan Alcorn, Michael Formanek - Live at Cornelia Street Cafe in NYC, 2013

Whether or not the Band Camp archive will ever feature any recordings from the’70s or ‘80s remains to be seen.  At the very least, going through this material has afforded the opportunity to try and piece together a timeline of events, many of which remain elusive and are perhaps lost to the years.  Yet it has been possible with the help of a few friends to determine and plot out a few things and it does feel compelling to want to share them.  I’ve noticed that some of my friends are now beginning to work on their memoirs, I guess we are getting to that age.  I’ve always felt it was important to retain and pass along our stories and yet I have no idea what form that might take should I ever feel moved to do that.  It’s already become clear that not all of the stories I’ve been telling myself over the years ring completely true.   The reality of events do not always coincide with our experience of them, yet our subjective experience is important as well.  

 Just thinking out loud at this point.  In all of this looking back there is also a strong energy to look more clearly at the present moment and consider what it is in and of itself, without telling a story about it.  Playing music has always been a great way in which to do that.  

By all means, let’s all play some more music…