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Chicago Edge ENSEMBLE

"Decaying Orbit"

Released: March 2017 CD + Digital on Trost Records (Vienna, AU)

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All seven songs, Phillips originals, are restless explorations. Take the title track, which opens with bowed bass, cymbal taps and delicate electric guitar before the drowsy horns enter in unison. Riffs glance off each other in a meandering fashion before Phillips introduces a vamp, Drake answers in the pocket, Bishop goes brawny to engage the drummer for a while, and Phillips’ weepy guitar signals another change—and we’re only halfway through the 11-minute tune. The titles “Bluster Buster” and “Splatter Pattern” infer that someone—usually Williams—is going to be shredding, but that’s just one of many events in each song. “Bipolar Vortex” leads with chromatic drones that evolve into feisty squabbles, then parade-march funk, back to squabbles, into full-blown sax-guitar spasms and back to drones. And “Uptown Swagger” could be the work of a classic fusion-rock trio until the horns enter and spin it into campy funk. This is music that animates your solar plexus, the soles of your feet and, not least, your soul.


Hamid Drake – drums
Mars Williams – sax
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Dan Phillips – guitar
Krzysztof Pabian – double bass


New York City Jazz Record's best of 2017


“Chicago Edge Ensemble is an all-terrain vehicle, a quintet equally capable of negotiating the bumpity-smooth contours of swinging postbop, the banked hairpin turns of fusion-funk, the fog and ether of AACM-style intrigue and the tumultuous thicket that awaits if you gleefully careen off the road.”

Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit” — Jazz Times 2017

“Phillips in particular proves why he’s the most under-appreciated electric guitarist from the Chicago area. There’s no hesitation or sense of compromise on Decaying Orbit. As the band name implies, this is jazz and improvisational material which goes to the edge, stays there, and doesn’t retreat.”

Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit” — Audiophile Audition 2017

“With its palpable personality, rigorous but approachable compositions, and sure-footed sense of self, Chicago Edge Ensemble’s Decaying Orbit not only pays homage to the city that Phillips loves, but also solidly places him on the map as a formidable instrumentalist and composer. It’s a treat to hear him play with such a first rate band of some of Chicago – and the world’s – greatest musicians.”

Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit ” — Broadway World 2017

“Dan Phillips leads a Quintet with a big Chicago sound and memorable compositions.”

Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit ” — Broadway World 2017Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit” — The Wire Magazine 2017

“‘Decaying Orbit’ – the song and the album fulfills the of its members and furthers the legacy of its worldly leader.”

Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit” — Something Else Reviews 2017

“Chicago jazz is the complexity of the postmodern with a predisposition for rump shaking. The Quintet rarely lowers the flame below boiling.”

Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit” — allaboutjazz 2017

“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.”

Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit” — avantmusicnews 2017

“This is a fine album of interesting themes and powerful performances by the full ensemble and the soloists. Everyone draws deeply from the limitless well of the city’s musical history and creates a bold and thoughtful statement.”

Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble’s “Decaying Orbit” — 2017

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