Cheap Rent (OA2 Records)

Electric Squeezebox Orchestra

Released February 10, 2016

DownBeat Four-and-a-Half-Star Review




San Francisco-based trumpeter Erik Jekabson has led an all-star cast of Bay Area musicians every Sunday over the last year at Doc’s Lab in SF’s vibrant North Beach neighborhood. Building a formidible book of creative arrangements and originals, a dynamic group aesthetic, and a loyal fan-base ready for anything, the ESO takes chances and explores options while never veering from their pursuit of groove, beauty and subtlety. From the spacious modern jazz sounds of “ESP” and the title track, to the New Orleans stomp of “Gap Toothed Grin,” or the ’70s groove of Herbie Hancock’s “People Music,” the album maintains cohesiveness while still providing plenty of surprises along the way.

Track Listing:

1. ESP 5:58
(solos: Doug Morton, trumpet; Michael Zilber, tenor sax)

2. Cheap Rent 7:04
(solos: Henry Hung, trumpet; Kasey Knudsen, alto sax)

3. Electric Squeezebox 9:17
(solos: Marcus Stephens, tenor sax; Grant Levin, piano)

4. Compus Mentis 4:56
(solos: Sheldon Brown, alto sax; Patrick Malabuyo, trombone; Marcus Stephens, tenor sax; Jordan Samuels, guitar)

5. Bolenge Shuffle 6:41
(solos: Sheldon Brown, alto sax; Darren Johnston, trumpet)

6. It’s Gonna Be Allright 10:31
(solos: Colin Hogan, piano; Erik Jekabson, trumpet)

7. Gap Toothed Grin 5:41
(solos: Erik Jekabson, Darren Johnstson, trumpets; Eric Garland, drums)

8. Chataigne Grilles 6:29 Arranged by Michael Zilber
(solo: Colin Hogan, piano)

9. People Music 5:50
(solos; Ian Carey, trumpet; Michael Zilber, tenor sax)

10. Trotsky 4:49
(solos: Charlie Gurke, baritone sax; Grant Levin, piano; Rob Ewing, trombone; Tommy Folen, bass; Eric Garland, drums)


Erik Jekabson
Darren Johnston
Doug Morton (1, 2, 4-8)
Henry Hung (2, 3, 5-8, 10)
Dave Scott (1, 3, 4, 9, 10)
Ian Carey (9)

Sheldon Brown: alto saxophone
Kasey Knudsen: alto saxophone
Michael Zilber: tenor saxophone
Marcus Stephens: tenor saxophone (1-4, 6-8, 10)
Teddy Raven: tenor saxophone (5, 9)
Charlie Gurke: baritone saxophone

Rob Ewing
Mitch Butler (1-5, 10)
Danny Lubin-Laden (6-9)
Patrick Malabuyo
Rich Lee: bass trombone

Grant Levin: piano (1-5, 10)
Colin Hogan: piano (6-9)
Jordan Samuels: guitar
Tommy Folen: bass
Eric Garland: drums (1-5, 10)
Alan Hall: drums (6-9)

Produced by Erik Jekabson
Recorded by Jeff Cressman at the San Francisco Musicians Union, San Francisco
Assistant Recording Engineer: Mark Rosenberg
December 6-7, 2014
Mixed at Cressmanmusic Studios, San Francisco
Mastered by Jeremy Goody at Megasonic Studios, Oakland, CA
Photos by Baytaper


Humor and camaraderie characterize the thoroughly enjoyable debut from this communal big band with an ongoing Sunday residency at a stylish and comfortable subterranean venue in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. 
Led by trumpeter Erik Jekabson, the ESO is an impressively democratic group. On the album, 15 0f the 23 members have solos, and five contribute original compositions. Cheap Rent opens with a bright-sounding arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s “ESP,” and the repertoire of Shorter’s longtime comrade Herbie Hancock is also visited in the form of a version of “People Music” that maintains the electric cool of the original 1976 recording. 
The title track, written by trumpeter Darren Johnston, could be interpreted as an ironic nod to the Bay Area’s skyrocketing housing market. Alto saxophonist Sheldon Brown’s “Bolenge Shuffle” could energize the dance floor of many a wedding reception. And Garland’s “Gap Toothed Grin” brings a welcomed second-line spirit to the bandstand.

Yoshi Kato (DownBeat)