1UP1DOWN is a new band led by saxophonist/composer Chris Kelsey. Live from Nowhere is the group’s first release.
The first Sonny Rollins album I ever heard wasn’t Saxophone Colossus or Way Out West (both of which would eventually become two of my favorite records by any artist), or another of the other late-‘50s/early-‘60s albums which made his reputation as one of the two greatest tenor saxophonists of his generation. It was instead Easy Living, a mostly-forgotten 1977 effort that I still best remember for Rollins’s endlessly melodic treatment of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” Few would consider Easy Living—or, for that matter, any of Mr. Rollins’s ‘70s albums on the Milestone label—on the same exalted level as albums like Colossus, or West, or Tenor Madness, or The Bridge. But those ‘70s records have their own charm, largely due to Rollins’s sincere and obvious affection for contemporary instrumentation and musical forms.
1UP1DOWN is an outgrowth of my early inculcation in the art of fusing straight-ahead jazz with amplified instruments, as well as contemporary musical developments – among them, rock, funk, and free jazz … I dubbed the group 1UP1DOWN on a whim, reminded of an obscure Coltrane tune from that era called “One Down, One Up.”
Virtually everything on Live from Nowhere is a first take. We were locked-in. Each tune was hotter than the last. The members of this band – Lewis Porter, on Kimball electric combo organ and Crumar Roadrunner electric piano (quirkier than a Rhodes and therefore more interesting, I think); Jack DeSalvo, electric guitar; Joe Gallant, six-string electric bass; Alan Lerner, drums – are some of the most versatile and passionate musicians on the New York City creative music scene. Lewis, besides being a highly-respected author and jazz educator, has names like Dave Liebman, Bela Fleck, and Don Byron on his resume. Besides helping run a record label, Jack is a prolific musician, having recorded and toured with drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson, among others. Joe’s big band, Illuminati, is one of the most original large groups in contemporary music. Alan is Illuminati’s masterful drummer, and a former member of the Zen Tricksters. They’ve all played every type of jazz there is, and everything else besides. 1UP1DOWN’s music reflects the inclusive nature of the jazz we all grew up loving – a music that ruled everything in and nothing out, whilst maintaining the rhythmic thread connecting the music from Armstrong to Ornette. It’s all good.
— Chris Kelsey
- Alfie’s Theme (9:39)
- Waltz Frisk (13:05)
- India (12:18)
- Easy Bake Burnt Pie (11:44)
- Blessing in Disguise (11:23)
Chris Kelsey, straight alto saxophone
Lewis Porter, electric combo organ and electric piano
Jack DeSalvo, electric guitar
Joe Gallant, 6-string electric bass
Alan Lerner, drums
Recorded October 6, 2012, by Gene Gaudette at Magnolia’s, Patterson, NY
Edited by Chris Kelsey
Mastered by Jim DeSalvo at Beanstudio, Wayne, NJ
Design by Qua’s Eye Graphix
Executive producers: Gene Gaudette, Jim DeSalvo, and Jack DeSalvo
Produced by Jack DeSalvo
Unseen Rain UR-9965