John Ellis and & Double-Wide: All Up in the Aisles


All Up in the Aisles


John Ellis and & Double-Wide


Dance Like There's No Tomorrow (Hyena Records HYN 9365)

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John Ellis (sax),

Gary Versace (organ), Matt Perrine (sousaphone), Jason Marsalis (drums)


Composed by John Ellis


Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, February 2007


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

The various New Orleans jazz sounds are not usually my cup of tea. I appreciate the tradition and all, but for some reason the music rarely moves me. At the Newport Jazz Festival, I saw the Dirty Dozen Brass Band do its thing by coming out into the audience to stir things up. It worked for most in the crowd. Sorry to say, I stayed seated in my lounge chair. There have been exceptions to my attitude caused by a brilliant performance here or there by, say, the likes of Pete Fountain. But these have been very few and very far between.

My non-interest in New Orleans styles may be my big blind jazz spot. But traditionalists can sue me. That is just the way it is. For any music to break through my apathy in this matter, it has to be damned good. "All Up in the Aisles" meets that criterion. It is soulful and celebratory at the same time. Saxophonist Ellis, who almost moans through his instrument, made it a point to record music that featured the sousaphone, a more portable, rewound tuba best known for being carried around by marching bands. The sousaphone holds down the bottom end of the tune. In ways, it is more expressive than a string bass. Matt Perrine makes it speak in tongues in both a melodic and rhythmic sense. Sousaphone aside, the band comes across as a standard sax and organ jazz quartet playing some feel-good New Orleans gumbo. Organist Gary Versace and drummer Jason Marsalis find a rut big enough for a groove and jump in it. Even if you don't get up in the aisles and dance yourself, this music can make you visualize other less-inhibited people doing so.

Reviewer's Note: I should be fair to Dirty Dozen. It was an awfully hot day and I may have had a few too many beers. Maybe I should have mentioned that before.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky


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