AMN Reviews: Dan Phillips’ Chicago Edge Ensemble – Decaying Orbit (2017)

Despite living in the Chicago area for over 20 years, I had never heard of guitarist Dan Phillips. Perhaps this is because his tenure in the city ended a while back when he moved to Thailand. Nonetheless, his bandmates on this release, Mars Williams on saxophone, Hamid Drake on drums, and Jeb Bishop on trombone are well-known here and afar.  Joined by bassist Krysztof Pabian, Phillips’ Chicago Edge Ensemble seeks to capture the modern “Chicago jazz” sound. Whether or not one believes that they achieved this goal, Decaying Orbit is a compelling and worthwhile release.

What is today’s Chicago sound? One would have to recognize the influence of the AACM (particularly the Art Ensemble of Chicago) above most others. Beyond that, musicians such as Ken Vandermark, Nicole Mitchell, Dave Rempis, Tim Daisy, Fred Anderson, Jim Baker, Kent Kessler, Avreeayl Ra, and many others are ambassadors of the city’s music. While these individuals lean left-of-center, focusing on creative and free jazz, Chicago also features a robust traditional component, as well as those who land in various places on the spectrum between those two points.

Decaying Orbit is a tuneful offering that nods to this continuum, with its fair share of discordance and outside playing, without going all-out free. For instance, Attitude Adjustment begins with a catchy trombone / guitar / sax theme before going structureless for over a minute, then returning to form with horn solos over guitar motifs. One more open-ended excursion follows, quieter this time, before a sax and trombone theme takes the track to its nine-minute conclusion.

Other tracks follow a similar formula of blending styles, as well as composed and improvised sections. Included are angular sax breaks, clean guitar solos, and the occasional blow-out.  The pairing of Williams and Bishop provides a thick, urgent brass sound, while the rhythm section is busy without being hyperactive. Put another way, Phillips composed complex lines with solid grooves that this veteran group carries out with vigor and ease.

The beauty of Decaying Orbit is its broad appeal. Fans of both traditional and more adventurous jazz will find much to like here. Indeed, the Chicago Edge Ensemble does manage to succeed in representing the city’s diverse musical roots, and in a highly enjoyable fashion to boot.

San Francisco Scene: January 27 – February 3, 2017

Top of the Transamerica building, downtown San...

From the Bay Improviser Calendar.

Friday, January 27

Fri 1/27 7:00 PM Christ Church [2138 Cedar St., Berkeley]
Ensemble ARI plays contemporary music and late romantic. A premiere piece of Haeguem with piano trio!

Fri 1/27 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Einsteinium Quartet’s premiere of Shapeshift by Mario Godoy

Fri 1/27 9:00 PM Uptown Nightclub [1928 Telegraph Ave Oakland]
Active Music Series presents a special tribute to Pauline Oliveros performed by sfSound.

Saturday, January 28

Sat 1/28 7:00 PM St.Marks Epispocal Church [600 Colorado Ave. Palo Alto]
A piece for haeguem and piano trio (premiere) / Contemporary pieces with Romantic pieces by fabulous musicians

Sat 1/28 7:30 PM Episcopal Church of the Incarnation [1750 29th Ave SF]
The Shimmer of the Sea – Chamber music with Sarah Wood, violin, Miles Graber, piano.

Sat 1/28 7:30 PM Bird & Beckett Books and Records [653 Chenery St. SF]
Kasey Knudsen- alto / Miles Wick- bass / Jordan Glenn- drums

Sat 1/28 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
The Opus Project Presents Opus 49: Orations / Ovations
Sat 1/28 8:00 PM The Lab [2948 16th St SF]
Moe! Staiano Guitar Ensemble

Sunday, January 29

Sun 1/29 7:30 PM SIMM Series @ The Musicians Union Hall [116 9th St @ Mission SF]
7:30 pm The Art of Skatch
T.D Skatchit – Tom Nunn – Skatchart, David Michalak – soundscapes
guest Kyle Bruckmann – English Horn, oboe
8:30 pm Sl(e)ight Ensemble
Jacob Lane – piano, Mia Bella D’Augelli – violin, Erika Oba – flute, Devon Thrumston – cello

Sun 1/29 7:30 PM SFJAZZ Center [201 Franklin Street, San Francisco]
Rova Saxophone Quartet
plays John Coltrane’s ‘Ascension’
& Tribute to Butch Morris

Sun 1/29 8:00 PM Radius Gallery [1050 River St #127 Santa Cruz]
Ma’ayan Tsadka performs her Museum of Extinct Sounds and Imaginary Water Creatures, a trip through underwater amplification and cryptozoology. Laura Steenberge and KCM Walker perform a new collaborative work.

Monday, January 30

Mon 1/30 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Bent Duo (NYC) + Inner Movements (Pascucci & Clifford)
Bent Duo (NYC) is David Friend, piano, and Bill Solomon, percussion, performing works by a new generation of composers from a variety of musical circles. Inner Movements (Oakland) is an ensemble which focuses on the performance of new music for ensembles of percussion and strings.

Mon 1/30 7:30 PM Herbst Theatre [401 Van Ness Ave SF]
Earplay Season 32: Air

Mon 1/30 9:30 PM Studio Grand [3234 Grand Ave, Oakland]
Marshall DunkelpeK + Andrew Palmer & Flower Pattern

Thursday, February 2

Thu 2/02 7:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Del Sol String Quartet – “Soundings 4.3″

Thu 2/02 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
8pm: Amanda Chaudhary (electronics)
9pm: Agnes Szelag and Danista Rivero

Upcoming Shows at the IBeam Brooklyn

Source: IBeam Brooklyn.

Jagged Spheres + Marc Hannaford Trio
Saturday, January 28th 8:00 PM $15 Suggested Donation
Jagged Spheres:
Anna Webber (sx)
Elias Stemeseder (pn)
Devin Gray (dr)
Marc Hannaford Trio:
Marc Hannaford (pn)
Simon Jermyn (bs)
Satoshi Takeishi (dr)

Harvey Diamond Quartet
Monday, January 30th 9:00 PM $15 Suggested Donation
Harvey Diamond. piano
Marcus McLaurine. bass *1/30
Sean Smith. bass **1/31
Brian Adler. drums
Richard Tabnik. saxophone
Harvey Diamond, makes a rare NY appearance. Legendary within Boston’s jazz community, he plays with a combination of technique, intellect, patience, subtlety and heart. His use of counterpoint, and harmony is next to none. Diamond was among Lennie Tristano’s (one of the great original improvisers who played with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the 1940’s) last students in the 1970’s.

Harvey Diamond Quartet
Tuesday, January 31st 9:00 PM $15 Suggested Donation
Harvey Diamond. piano
Marcus McLaurine. bass *1/30
Sean Smith. bass **1/31
Brian Adler. drums
Richard Tabnik. saxophone

Anti-Social Music + Charlie Waters
Friday, February 10th 8:30 PM $15 Suggested Donation
Anti-Social Music Drinks Alone (8:30 pm)
Charlie Waters presents PEACE FORMS ONE(horn trio) (9:30 pm)
W/ Josh Sinton & Matt Lavelle
ASM performs a set of solo pieces written by Patrick Castillo, Ty Citerman, Max Duykers, Andrea La Rose, Pat Muchmore, Ed RosenBerg and Charlie Waters. Performers include Ty Citerman (guitar), Domenica Fossati (flute), Steven Gosling (piano), Mihai Marica (cello), Pat Muchmore (cello), and Ed RosenBerg (reeds).

YSC’s Owls At Night + Dana Lyn’s Mother Octopus
Saturday, February 11th 8:30 PM $15 Suggested Donation
YSC’s Owls At Night
Yoon Sun Choi – voice/piano
Dana Lyn – violin
Vinnie Sperrazza – drums
Dana Lyn’s Mother Octopus
Dana Lyn – violin/compositions
Clare Kennedy – cello
Mike McGinnis – clarinet
Ty Citerman – guitar
Vinnie Sperrazza – drums

Cafe OTO in February

English: Charles Hayward performing in Limeric...

Source: London’s Cafe OTO.

1–3 February 2017
the Art Ensemble of Chicago – Three Night Residency

Saturday 4 February 2017, 7.30pm
N.m.o. + Hooter + Louie Rice / David Stearn (Duo) + Tabitha Thorlu-bangura (DJ)

Sunday 5 February 2017, 7.30pm
Nate Wooley / Evan Parker (Duo) + Nate Wooley / Seymour Wright (Duo)

Monday 6 February 2017, 7.30pm
Genesis P-orridge / Aaron Dilloway (Duo) + Dale Cornish / Phil Julian (Duo)

Tuesday 7 February 2017, 7.30pm
Kammer Klang:
Christine Sun Kim + plus-minus Ensemble Performs Cassandra Miller (World Premiere) + Juliet Fraser Performs Cassandra Miller (World Premiere)

Wednesday 8 February 2017, 7.30pm
Olivia Block + Luciano Maggiore / Kostis Kilymis (Duo) + Ute Kanngiesser

10–11 February 2017
Slapp Happy with Faust – Two Day Residency

Sunday 12 February 2017, 2pm
Slapp Happy with Faust – Matinee Show

Sunday 12 February 2017, 7.30pm
Lullabies for Insomniacs Presents:
Air Cushion Finish + Sculpture + Izabel (DJ)

Monday 13 February 2017, 7.30pm
Loops, Drones and Landscapes:
Xenia Pestova Performs Ed Bennett, Alvin Curran, Alvin Lucier, Egidija Medeksaite and Gayle Young

Tuesday 14 February 2017, 7.30pm
David Burraston + John Edwards & Tom Wheatley (Yoke Ii Tape Launch) + Andie Brown & Phil Julian (Duo)

Wednesday 15 February 2017, 7.30pm
Resonance Fm’s Avant-gala Fundraiser:
Scratch Orchestra all-stars

Thursday 16 February 2017, 7.30pm
Kristín Anna ValtýSDóttir + Ilan Volkov

Friday 17 February 2017, 7.30pm
Mie Presents:
Pelt + Mike Gangloff with Matt Peyton + Nathan Bowles

Saturday 18 February 2017, 7.30pm
Mie Presents:
Pelt + Mike Gangloff with Matt Peyton + Spiral Joy Band

Sunday 19 February 2017, 7.30pm
Maoupa Mazzocchetti + Raum-zeit + Jamka + Carlos Garate + Claire Voyant (DJ)

Monday 20 February 2017, 7.30pm
Alex Zhang Hungtai / David Maranha / Gabriel Ferrandini (Trio)

Tuesday 21 February 2017, 7.30pm
Jerman • Barnes + Ashley Paul + Mark Wastell / John Butcher (Duo) + Graham Dunning

Wednesday 22 February 2017, 7.30pm
Alexis Taylor / Charles Hayward / Pat Thomas

Thursday 23 February 2017, 7.30pm
Terrascope Audio Entertainment Presents:
the Alasdair Roberts Trio (Alasdair Roberts / Stevie Jones / Alex Neilson) + Sound of Yell

Saturday 25 February 2017, 7pm
Beartown Presents:
Sindre Bjerga + Claus Poulsen + Spoils & Relics + Tom White + Tom Bench + Phil Julian

Saturday 25 February 2017, 7.30pm
Seamus Cater + Leo Svirsky + Howard Skempton

Sunday 26 February 2017, 7.30pm
Yugenism: Animated Soundscapes of the Japanese Sublime

Monday 27 February 2017, 7.30pm
Yan Jun + Lo Wie + Seijiro Murayama + Ryu Hankil

Tuesday 28 February 2017, 7.30pm
Discrepant Presents:
Mike Cooper + Typhonian Highlife (Spencer Clark) + People Like Us