The Windy City is currently cultivating new sounds in jazz. Sure, sure, it's always been a strong hub for the music, but recent offerings out of Chicago have elevated the city's jazz status beyond New York-like coolness. Not only does Ken Vandermark reside there, but in recent memory there have been several worthwhile releases from Chicago-based artists.
Add saxophonist Daniele D'Agaro to that impressive list. Truth be told, D'Agaro, an Italian, lives in Holland, though he's well versed with the Chicago scene courtesy of musician/critic John Corbett and producer Art Lange, who often invite him to Chicago to share in the city's musical riches. D'Agaro's second album as a leader, Chicago Overtones, features the excellent playing of trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist Kent Kessler, and drummer Robert Barry. The album's nine tunes range from sauntering melodic discussions to far more diverse and dissonant tongues.
All the while, though, the group's core remains accessible, allowing appreciation of its unique techniques. Enjoyable and daring, the music on Chicago Overtones invigorates. Stimulating the mind as well as striking that snappy cadence known as swing, the album enjoys straddling the in/out borders of jazz. Neither all the way there nor too close here, this recording delights in its sinuous motions, its comings and goings, its flights from Italy to Chicagoand it all seems well worth the effort.
Personnel: Daniele D'Agaro: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Kent Kessler: bass;
Robert Barry: drums.