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  • Born

    16 April 1959 (age 58)

  • Born In

    Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, United States

Ellery Eskelin (born August 16, 1959) American tenor saxophonist. Born in Wichita, Kansas, raised in Baltimore, Maryland from the age of two. His parents, Rodd Keith and Bobbie Lee, were also musicians. Rodd Keith died in 1974 in Los Angeles, California and became a cult figure after his death in the little known field of "song-poem" music. Organist Bobbie Lee performed in local nightclubs in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 1960's.

Eskelin has resided in New York City since 1983. He leads touring ensembles in Europe, Canada and the United States and has released numerous recordings since the late 1980s primarily for the Swiss hatOLOGY label. His most important work continues to be with the group he formed in 1994 featuring keyboardist Andrea Parkins and drummer Jim Black although he has maintained lasting musical associations with Joey Baron, Mark Helias, Gerry Hemingway, Marc Ribot, Han Bennink, Sylvie Courvoisier and Daniel Humair among others.

Eskelin's style has its roots in the jazz realm yet his unique phrasing (which is compared to Arnold Schoenberg's technique of "klangfarbenmelodie" in The Wire, December 1996) and the unorthodox techniques utilized in his compositions in which composed and improvised elements often collide unpredictably (which Down Beat magazine described as "a startlingly new concept", January 1997) make for a music that often defies easy categorization. Eskelin has garnered significant critical praise in the international jazz press and is recognized as "a major player in today's creative music". (Down Beat, September 1995)

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