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Ellery Eskelin-Vincent Courtois-Sylvie Courvoisier
Parisian cellist Vincent Courtois and New York saxophonist Ellery Eskelin met in Europe in 2000 while performing in a large ensemble project led by Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil. Sensing an immediate musical rapport they began discussing the possibility of collaboration. Both musicians admired the playing of Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier (now living in Brooklyn) and with her formed this group in 2002, performing original compositions as well as completely improvised concerts.
Vincent Courtois was born in Paris in 1968 and began playing the cello at six years of age. He took classical studies at the conservatory in Aubervillier with E. Fauré, R. Pidoux and F. Lodéon while discovering jazz and improvisation with Didier Levallet and Dominique Pifarely. In 1988, Vincent began playing in various Parisian groups (Christian Escoudé and Michel Pétrucianni) and his first CD as a leader, titled Cello News, was released in 1990. Since then Vincent has recorded eight CDs as a leader, among them Translucide (with Michel Godard and Noel Akchoté) and The Fitting Room with (Dominique Pifarely and Marc Ducret) both for Enja Records.
Vincent played in several of Rabih Abou Khalil's bands (Yara and The Cactus of Knowledge) and plays frequently with clarinetist Louis Sclavis (L'affrontement des prétendants and Napoli's Walls on ECM Records). Vincent also plays regularly with trombonist Yves Robert (In Touch, ECM). In the past fifteen years Vincent Courtois has played or recorded with artists such as Pierre Favre, James Newton, Laurent de Wilde, Julien Lourau, Jim Black, Tomas Stanko, Dave Douglas, Renaud Garcia Fons, Tom Raney, Mark Nauseef, Joachim Kuhn, Michel Portal, Henri Texier, Dave Holland, François Corneloup, among many others.
Composer/pianist Sylvie Courvoisier was born and raised in Lausanne, Switzerland. She started to play piano at age of six initiated by her father, an amateur jazz pianist. She moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1998, where she currently resides. She has played and recorded with John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Tim Berne, Joey Baron, Mark Feldman, Tony Oxley, Yusef Lateef Dave Douglas, Joëlle Léandre, Herb Robertson, Butch Morris, Tom Rainey, Mark Dresser, Ellery Eskelin, Lotte Anker, Fred Frith, Michel Godard, Mark Nauseef, and many others. She has been commissioned to write music for concerts, radio, dance and theater.
In the following years, Courvoisier released 6 CDs as a leader, and 10 CDs as a co-leader, and more than 20 recordings as a side person or as a guest. Her latest releases as a leader are Abaton with Mark Feldman and Erik Friedlander on ECM Records (2004), Lonelyville with her new quintet on Intakt Records (2007), and a solo piano album, Signs And Epigrams, on Tzadik Records (2007). Sylvie is currently the leader of her own quintet Lonelyville and the Trio Abaton. She is a member of Mephista, an improvising trio with Ikue Mori and Susie Ibarra, the Herb Robertson Quintet with Tim Berne, Tom Rainey and Mark Dresser, a trio along with Ellery Eskelin and Vincent Courtois, and John Zorn's Cobra. She also performs regularly in duo with violinist Mark Feldman.
Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin was born in Wichita, KS, in 1959. He was raised in a musical home in Baltimore, MD, by his mother, Bobbie Lee, who played Hammond B-3 organ and led her own jazz groups during the 1960s. 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 NYC 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 1960s and 1970s. 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 appears 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, mostly on the Hatology label. By 1999, Eskelin had released ten albums as a leader and appeared as a sideman on over 20 other releases.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. As a facilitator between artists and their audiences, Ars Nova Workshop works to inform, inspire and challenge listeners in order to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation and experimental music in contemporary culture.