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June 2008

John Ellis & Double Wide
Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow
Hyena

From its gurgling church-stomping start to its swirling noirish finale, everything about sax man and bass clarinetist John Ellis’ new record is joyous and bottom heavy, happily cleaving to its thick grooves like a lion cub pawing at its mom. Though Gary Versace’s rhythm-licking organ riffs and fluid accordion honks guide the ride of the Orleans parish gospel “All Up in the Aisles” and percolate through to Ellis’ epic title tune, it’s tuba/sousaphonist Matt Perrine who acts as the chuckling tenor/soprano axe man’s best bud, keeping more bounce to the ounce throughout, even when the Ellis-penned Dance is at its slowest. While drummer Jason Marsalis acts with kinetic grace and debonair punctuation skills, Perrine and Ellis pull from the lowdown (the Gypsy-jamming “Three-Legged Tango in Jackson Square”) so to throw higher (the epiphanistic “Dream and Mosh”). You can sense that Ellis, a Southern gentleman living in New York City, understands the swamp depths and the penthouse suites and has managed a Dance that features both.

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Peak

John Ellis

Originally published in June 2008
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