Nate Lepine, “Youngblood” from Quartet: Vortices (2016): Something Else! exclusive stream

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Nate Lepine has spent roughly the last quarter century serving as a valuable sideman and band member in the vanguard of Chicago’s progressive music scene that freely crosses between jazz, improvised music and experimental indie rock. The city that’s brought us Tortoise, Ken Vandermark and the Exploding Star Orchestra has so much to offer ears attached to open minds that it’s hard to keep up with the growing list of musicians both deeply talented and audacious. Now that the tenor saxophonist Lepine had decided to lead his own small ensemble and make a record, that list is about to get a little longer.

Quartet: Vortices is his introductory statement that’s gonna drop September 30, 2016 on Ears & Eyes Records, and it’s an impressive first step from the veteran musician. Having amassed a quartet that brings together up and coming notables in the Windy City’s jazz scene, Nate Lepine selected the right people to carry out his own compositions. Consisting of Lepine, Nick Mazzarella (alto sax), Clark Sommers (bass) and Quin Kirchner on drums, Quartet: Vortices is highly charged, highly improvised jazz that at times sounds like Ornette Coleman laying down some heavy grooves.

We’re given you a taste of what’s coming out of Lepine’s debut with the exclusive stream above of “Youngblood,” which kicks off the whole affair. It launches with a memorable, repeating modern bop riff that quickly makes way for Nate Lepine’s stout horn, and the rhythm section stays well connected to his impulses. After a while, Mazzarella can be heard beckoning him back to the chorus and after a little cajoling the two reunify for the tidy ending.

A nice day’s work in the span of less than three minutes.

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