Outset | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Outset


Kelly Fleming

When: Fri., Aug. 26, 8:30 p.m. 2016
Price: $10
This young Chicago quartet make plain how the once radical ideas put forth six decades ago by Ornette Coleman have been embraced by the jazz mainstream. Led by saxophonist Dan Meinhardt, Outset employ the same instrumentation as Coleman’s classic pianoless quartet, embracing less rigorous harmonic restrictions as an avenue for easy repartee. Meinhardt’s tunes cover plenty of turf: classic hard bop, New Orleans polyphony, driving funk. The leader possesses an impressive rapport with trumpeter Justin Copeland—the most rewarding parts of the quartet’s new eponymous debut for Ears & Eyes are when the horns navigate themes together, either tracing tart unison lines or trading phrases with preternatural anticipation. The rhythm section provides energy and bounce, though sometimes the production delivers too much of it; bassist Tim Ipsen’s springy, amplified tone sullies his instrument’s natural resonance, while the superboomy miking and mixing of Andrew Green’s drumming convey a misplaced rocklike feel. Here’s hoping that tonight’s show, which celebrates the release of the new record, will feature a flatter, more instinctive sound.
— Peter Margasak



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