Guitarist Dan Dan Phillips initiated the Chicago Edge Ensemble although he already has left Chicago about fifteen years ago and now lives in Bangkok, Thailand. But, as he put it, the imprint that Chicago made on him was indelible and permanently shaped his playing, his composing, and his conception of and attitude towards music.
The ensemble features local bass talent Krzysztof Pabian who played with Phillips for about twenty years, including the time when Phillips lived in Chicago from the mid-nineties until the early 2000’s, plus local heroes as drummer Hamid Drake, sax player Mars Williams and trombonist Jeb Bishop. The Ensemble released its self-released, debut album «Decaying Orbit» last year, and four months later reconvened to record the follow-up «Insidious Anthem». In Between Phillips also recorded a duet with Drake, «Trail of Inevitability», released earlier this year.
Phillips’ compositions often offer a linear gradual narratives. These compositions begin with an intricate and complex sonic architecture or quiet, searching textures that highlight the rich palette of the Ensemble. In both situations Phillips sets the basic theme and the overall atmosphere. Later these parts mature into collective, free jazz improvisations that enjoy the full power and the soulful sound of the Ensemble. The improvised segments highlight the propulsive drive of Drake, the solid rhythmic support of Pabian and the intensity of Williams and Bishop.
«Caustic Premise» uses this kind of patient, coherent development before it settles on an infectious groove and even leaves more room for extended solos of Bishop and Williams. «Nonlinear Deconstruction» is the only piece that adopts a different approach and is mostly free-improvised until it reaches its coda, where the whole Ensemble states a loose, rhythmic theme. The last pieces – «Untold» and «Curbside Memorial» and the title-piece – stresses a more reserved vibe, meditative and spiritual with quiet solos of Pabian, Phillips and Bishop.
Chicago Edge Ensemble already sounds as a working group. Time to take it to a tour before its next, hopefully, soon enough, release.
Dan Phillips (g), Hamid Drake (dr), Mars Williams (s, perc), Jeb Bishop (tb), Krzysztof Pabian (b)
[amazon_link asins=’B07H5VTDCF’ template=’salt-peanuts-amazon-link-NO’ store=’salt-peanuts-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’dd1ae7a0-f2f4-11e8-92e5-f741e16ebd7e’]