Chicago Odense Ensemble is a bit of a supergroup. It involves members of Tortoise, Isotope 217° (a Tortoise side-project), Jakøb Skott, and Jonas Munk (Manual and Causa Sui) – the latter two which I have written about before on here. There’s no real preview of this self-titled, apparently one-off project, but this track “Soup” which I have linked for you below via Adluna Records’ Soundcloud. Tortoise’ and Isotope’s jazz influences bleed in to the Ensemble’s track below enough to where any fan of Tortoise or Isotope can appreciate it. Trumpets, brass instruments and various angular jazz chords occupy the soundscape on “Soup.” The price is a bit steep, admittedly, but hey, there’s only 250 copies pressed!  There’s not much more to say here, so I will leave you be.

The Details

Chicago Odense Ensemble is a unique collaboration that came together in the winter of 2008 while danish musicians Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt stayed in Chicago. Through mutual friends a studio session was arranged for the two to improvise and lay down ideas with some of Chicagos finest improvisers, including members of Tortoise and Chicago Underground Collective.
Improvisation is not unfamiliar to the two danes, however, as they are more than accustomed to working from spontaneity and freeform structures in psych/kraut/prog unit Causa Sui in their hometown of Odense. During the Chicago studio session hours of loose ideas, grooves and atmospherics were recorded, ranging from loud, intense musical outbursts led by cornetist Rob Mazurek, to delicate, colourful ambiences.
Later, the finest moments were edited, re-arranged and mixed by Jonas Munk in his studio in Odense, doing a great deal of cutting and pasting, and adding an occasional dreamy and dubby vibe to the soundscape. The result is something quite unique: a musical blend that exists somewhere in between the aesthetics of impro jazz, hypnotic rock and electronica. The closest reference for this kind of music is probably early 1970s proto-fusion jazz that strived for a similar synthesis of jazz improvisation, psychedelic rock, eastern and african sounds and the use of the studio as a musical tool instead of merely a recording facility.
Conceptually this album therefore seems more related to Miles Davis' ventures into electric music in the late 1960s that culminated in the early 1970s with albums such as "Live Evil", where improvisational jazz meets funk, psych and percussion driven world music. Even though Chicago Odense Ensemble is undeniably modern sounding in some ways, it also reaches back to an era in music where the fusion of jazz and elements of rock were still regarded with optimism, and where musical spontaneity and freedom seemed a vehicle for cosmic beauty rather than esoteric formalism.
Rob Mazurek, Jeff Parker, Dan Bitney, Matt Lux, Brian Keigher, Jonas Munk, Jakob Skøtt.

Price $39.26

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