August 23, 2016

Outset: Outset

photo: Kelly Fleming

Jazz quartet Outset's self-titled debut album is the culmination of long journey. All four band members have made their mark in the Chicago music scene. Led by saxophonist Dan Meinhardt they play music that is driven by textures and rhythm, following a twisted road of motifs, short solos, following the principles of modal jazz. One or two members can take the ball, while the others hold back for a bit, before changing things around. This kind of playing is demanding for the players (and listeners as well). Pay attention or you might miss something out of the ordinary,

They are not above branching out to other genres if the mood strikes them. Dropped comes close to freakout funk with trumpet player Justin Copeland going all out with a barrage of notes, setting up the bass-drum duel by Tim Ipsen and Andrew Green. Something Mellow may be soft but avoid all the pitfalls of easy listening that its title suggests. The sole cover, a barebones, deconstructed version the Thelonious Monk/Kenny Clarke timeless standard Epistrophy, sounds as fresh and modern as it was when it first came to a shellac 78 RPM in 1941.

These musicians like to risks, but never forget to keep listening to each other. It could break down any minute, but it never does, making it an adventurous listening experience. Most music is fairly predictable - you just know what comes next, never mind that this is the first time you heard this particular song, but in this case listeners will get caught on the wrong foot dozens of times. Exquisite tone, separation and dynamics - captured within the superb acoustics of Locallective in Chicago - make this album an instant cult-jazz favorite.

Dan Meinhardt: saxophone (Michael Nearpass, Carl Kennedy, Josh Torrey)
Justin Copeland: trumpet (Victor Goines, Gustavo CortiƱas, Clif Wallace, Fatbook)
Tim Ipsen: bass (Cooke Book, Justefan, Tom Matta)
Andrew Green: drums (TWIN TALK, Jonas Friddle, Paul Dietrich)

Outset is released thru ears&eyes Records (digital, CD - limited to 200 copies).

  1. Gooby
  2. Dropped
  3. Points for Trying
  4. Bixotic
  5. Something Mellow
  6. New Rain
  7. Epistrophy
  8. Wayneish

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