TVD Premiere: John Ellis & Double-Wide, “Booker”

We are proud to announce the release of  Charm, the third recording from saxophonist John Ellis’ eclectic, eccentric, and utterly charming band Double-Wide. While the rest of the album is due out on September 18, 2015, we are giving our readers an exclusive listen to the first song on the new album.

Double-Wide is anchored as always by sousaphonist Matt Perrine and drummer Jason Marsalis, who lend the band its buoyant New Orleans groove. Gary Versace is on organ, piano, and accordion, and trombonist Alan Ferber completes the line-up. This unusual quintet bridges Ellis’ two homes, capturing the celebratory spirit of New Orleans and the urban grit of New York City.

The song we are premiering, “Booker,” is a tip of the musical cap to a New Orleans iconoclast, James Booker—the man who Dr. John memorably called “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.”

Like much of the album, “Booker” was written during a three-month residency at Santa Monica’s 18th Street Arts Center where Ellis’ wake-up music of choice was often the pianist. The song pays tribute to Booker’s vibrant sound, with only a hint of his ultimately tragic life.

As one of modern jazz’s premier voices on the tenor saxophone, Ellis is also a sideman with an impossibly busy schedule. The second place winner of the 2002 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, he’s since worked with artists as diverse as bass great John Patitucci, organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith, MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón, the Brooklyn-bred big band led by composer Darcy James Argue, guitar groove master Charlie Hunter, and pop icon Sting.

John Ellis

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