Recent CDs: John Ellis

John Ellis, Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow (Hyena). Ellis’s quartet makes party music infected with parade beats, gospel, tango (“Three Legged Tango In Jackson Square”), comedy (“Zydeco Clowns On The Lam”) sentiment worn up, rather than on, the sleeve (“I Misssousaphone.jpg You Molly”) and assorted other ingredients. Think of gumbo. Ellis plays soprano saxophone and bass clarinet, but his individuality shines most brightly on tenor saxophone. His superb support troops are organist and accordianist Gary Versace, drummer Jason Marsalis and sousaphone virtuoso Matt Perrine. Yes — sousaphone. You see one, greatly reduced, to your right. This album was recorded in Brooklyn, but it feels like a visit to Ellis’s home town, New Orleans. Great fun.

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