Like certain other New York-based acts established just before or after them -- such as Metro Area, Hercules & Love Affair, Holy Ghost!, and Midnight Magic -- Escort are part of a lineage that can be traced back to the disco era, deeply connected to the underground club scene of their native city. Displaying a remarkable knack for fusing and updating several strands of post-disco R&B, they've released the distinctive albums Escort (2011), Animal Nature (2015), and City Life (2019) amid numerous 12" singles. Although Escort's core is a production duo, they're also built for the stage, having expanded their live act to as many as 17 musicians, including horn and string sections.
During the early 2000s, guitarist/keyboardist Dan Balis and keyboardist Eugene Cho, musicians who met while attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, produced and remixed house tracks for the Brique Rogue and Stay True labels. After opting to move closer to house music's disco roots, the two hatched Escort in 2006 with "Starlight," a contemporary disco single that could have passed for a fresh take on a lost Skyy 12" for Salsoul Records. Recorded with the assistance of several musicians, including vocalists Zena Kitt and Kemba Russell, the self-released 12" featured a dub mix from Metro Area's Darshan Jesrani. Over the next 12 months, they released three more singles: "Love in Indigo," "A Bright New Life," and "All Through the Night." The band's fifth single didn't materialize until three years later, by which point their performing lineup had changed and grown significantly. "Cocaine Blues" (2010) also featured a new lead vocalist, Adeline Michele, and it served as a prelude to the band's first full-length, Escort (2011). A handful of singles followed the next few years and led to Animal Nature (2015), which sounded more like the work of a proper band than a studio project despite an injection of high-gloss pop.
Balis and Michele eventually departed, but their positions were essentially filled from within by bassist/producer Jason Kriveloff and singer Nicki B., both of whom had been performing with the band. Escort's third album, City Life (2019), emphasized their late-'70s/early-'80s inspirations and featured appearances from Fonda Rae (of Kid Creole & the Coconuts and "Over Like a Fat Rat" cult fame) and Brian Jackson (known most for his groundbreaking work with Gil Scott-Heron). ~ Andy Kellman
HOMETOWNNew York, NY