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MP3 Tim O'Dell & Tatsu Aoki - Ancient Pines

"Stunningly beautiful. . ." All About Jazz/New York.
Panoramic, interactive, highly acclaimed chamber jazz featuring O''Dell''s unique compositions/saxophone excursions with the improvisational gifts of Chicagoans Aoki and Ryan Shultz.

13 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Free Jazz, JAZZ: Weird Jazz

Tim O''Dell - composer/soprano and alto saxophones
Tatsu Aoki - bass
Ryan Shultz - bass trumpet


“Pleasing set . . . The saxophonist is great . . . no wasted notes . . . Compelling music . . . This is fine, satisfying stuff.”
Jason Bivins—Cadence

“Agile minds . . . O’Dell is an open, lyrical player who can unfurl a wide range of ideas at a dizzying pace . . . appealing atmosphere . . . flows beautifully . . . O’Dell designs hypnotic concepts that capture the imagination . . . indelible spirit.” Jerry D’Souza--All About Jazz

“This recording confirms the hopes we had placed on [O’Dell] . . . Probing excursions . . . On soprano, [O’Dell] skillfully avoids the saccharine tone that mars too many saxophonists . . . fiery dialogues . . . contemplative and lyrical communions . . . seamless and breezy . . . solid outing.” Alain Drouot--Chicago Jazz Institute

“Lovely chamber jazz . . . They swing, experiment, solo comfortably, swing some more and interpret with creative passion . . . O’Dell soars lyrically with alto and soprano melodic sketches. Carrying a blues foundation and providing plenty of room for spontaneity, the program connects intuitively with the audience . . . exotic flavors . . . They create impressions that let their audience travel through time and space.” Jim Santella --All About Jazz

“Quality of music is excellent . . . ‘Rise and Fall’ is a beautiful ballad that displays both Tim O’Dell’s wonderful tone on soprano sax and Aoki’s big, fat bass notes . . . unhurried duo musical communication . . . good soloing by the horns and swinging bass lines . . . ‘Old Growth’ is stunningly beautiful.” Francis Lo Kee--All About Jazz New York

“Unusual and well crafted . . . memorable . . . O’Dell and Aoki in top-notch form . . . creative sounds . . . remarkable . . . smooth, mellow approach which is enjoyable. . .’Ancient Pines Suite’ is intense in scope and presentation, and there is much good to say about it, and its thematic structure. [Ancient Pines Suite] is a strong entry for anywhere and anytime . . . Wide base of appeal . . . a fine example of what can be creatively expressed . . . wide range and a wide scope, and it entertains . . . straight-ahead stylings add to its brilliance. Highly recommended jazz fusion!” Lee Prosser--Jazz https://www.tradebit.com

“O’Dell has a rich timbre and consistent vision . . . compelling terrain.”
Marc Masters—Jazz Times


Composer/Saxophonist/Educator, Tim O''Dell, was born in Lebanon, Oregon in 1966 and moved to the east coast in 2001 from the Chicago scene. In Chicago, O''Dell has performed at such premier venues as the Jazz Showcase, the Hot House and the Bop Shop with some of the city''s finest musicians and recently released his latest CD, Ancient Pines for Chicago''s Southport record label. O''Dell also performs with, and composes for new music ensembles in Boston and he performs and records around New England in a wide variety of musical styles.

As a recording artist for Southport Records, O''Dell has been acclaimed by the critics. His 2005, Ancient Pines CD featuring Chicagoans Tatsu Aoki and Ryan Shultz, has been highly praised as was Tim’s previous Southport release, Before My Life, which features ten of Tim''s diverse compositions for jazz sextet. In 1998, O''Dell was a featured soloist on the popular Southport CD, Finally Elijah, featuring vocalist Elijah Levi and in that year Tim also released Live in Iowa City with the Chicago-based Red Fire Ant Trio. The release of Windy Christmas, featuring Tim O''Dell with the Tatsu Aoki Quartet, was deemed best Christmas album of 1997 by JAZZIZ magazine.

O''Dell’s recordings have been broadcast on radio stations around the world and he has been invited to appear in Brazil, Japan, Portugal and Greece. Tim has performed with artists such as Danilo Perez, Tim Hagans, George Garzone, Bill McHenry, Louis Bellson, David Berkman, John Carlson, Gunther Schuller, Willie Pickens, Muhal Richard Abrams, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Tatsu Aoki, Ryan Shultz, George Russell, Cuong Vu and The Temptations.

Dr. O''Dell holds a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Saxophone from the University of Iowa. At NEC he studied composition with Jimmy Giuffre, William Thomas McKinley and George Russell; and saxophone with George Garzone and Kenneth Radnofsky. At Iowa he studied saxophone with Ronald Tyree and Paul Scea; and composition with Donald Martin Jenni.

O’Dell is currently Saxophone/Jazz Studies instructor at the University of Southern Maine and from 1993 to 2001 was Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Tim is a highly sought after clinician and adjudicator, and maintains a thriving saxophone/composition studio out of his home in Brunswick, Maine where he lives with his wife Sue, and sons Travis and Benjamin.


Tatsu Aoki is one of the most recorded, talked-about bassists on the Chicago music scene. A prolific artist, composer, musician, educator and a consummate bassist, he works in a wide range of musical styles, ranging from traditional Asian music and jazz, to creative free and experimental music.

Aoki is founder and artistic director of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which debuted in October 1996 and had six straight successful seasons. Currently national in scope, the annual event is now known as "Asian American Jazz," and is held in several cities (San Francisco, Chicago). The annual Chicago celebration is scheduled for late October.

Aoki has recorded seven solo bass albums, eight duet albums with various other artists, 13 ensemble works, and has appeared as a guest artist on over 60 other albums internationally. With works ranging from solo to larger ensemble, from mainstream to avant garde, Aoki has worked with many musical legends, including Fred Anderson, Von Freeman, George Freeman, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Don Moye, Mwata Bowden, Jhon Watson, Sonny Seals, Eric Leonardson, Francis Wong and Carol Genetti.

Among the variety of works produced in the last 15 years, his solo bass performance and recordings are internationally acclaimed, and known for one of the most innovative approaches of the bass instrument.

Aoki, who was named president of Asian Improv Records (AIR) in 1999, served as executive producer on Anthony Brown''s Asian American Orchestra piece, Ellington-Strayhorn''s "Far East Suite," (AIR0053), for which the label received a Grammy Award nomination in 1999.

As a producer, Aoki has produced over 30 albums, including the legendary Max Roach and Jon Jang’s “Beijing Trio,” (AIR 0044), as well as projects in the hip hop arena, and a number of other projects in the Asian Pacific American arts, such as film and concert series.

Aoki''s most prolific work to date is, "ROOTED: Origins of Now," a four-suite, approximately 50-minute piece, which featured for its world premiere on August 26, 2001, a 12-piece big band in performance at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chicago''s Chinatown. Subsequent full house performances followed on September 1, 2001 at the Chicago Jazz Fest in Grant Park, and on October 27, 2001 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, as the highlight of Asian American Jazz Festival 2001: Chicago.

Citing "ROOTED" as the most important work of his career, Aoki was recently named one of 16 inspirational "Chicagoans of the year" by the Chicago Tribune (December 30, 2001.) The Tribune stated that "ROOTED" had "come into its own as an eloquent, often dramatic merger of ancient Japanese music and experimental American jazz."
"ROOTED: Origins of Now" the CD (S-SSD 0092 October 2001) is a project of The Jazz Institute of Chicago Sound Archive and Recordings, and is available via distributors SOUTHPORT and Asian Improv Records.

As a producer, the Aoki name is behind a number of other significant projects in the arts, including recordings, film and concert series. Born in Japan the son of artisans, Tatsu Aoki is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received bachelor and master of fine arts degrees, and where he is currently an assistant professor in film.


The melody of "Textual" is taken from a quintet that I am composing to be fitted with a work of visual art. The expansive, harmonically loaded melody presented here in duo format allows Tatsu and I plenty of room to converse.

"The Drive" sounds and feels like the promising April drive that I made from my new home on the East Coast to Chicago to record this project.

"Toddler" is inspired by toddlers everywhere and specifically by toddler Kai MacAyeal with whose family I stayed the night before we recorded this.

"Anticipation" was inspired by my beautiful wife Sue.

Tatsu’s open, grooving style of playing provides all the glorious freedom one could ask for. The melody of "Rise and Fall" was written with Tatsu’s openness in mind.

The "Ancient Pines Suite" was inspired by the two enormous conifers in our Maine backyard which I frequently look out upon while composing. The suite was conceived as the centerpiece of this album and features Tatsu and Ryan in different settings. Multiple pitch/harmonic and rhythmic relationships connect the three movements while I have attempted to leave plenty of room for solo and collective improvisation.

"Come Here" is one of several wholly improvised selections on this album. To my ear the insistent bass is a sort of tether for the spirited saxophone - the soprano eventually heeds the call to “come here.”

"Opinions" was adapted from a trombone duet that I was commissioned to write while attending the New England Conservatory. Tatsu’s stubborn, improvised bass part replaces the original bass trombone lines and while totally changing the work, allows me nearly infinite harmonic freedom as an improviser.

"You Can’t Find Me" captures all the drama and intrigue of a game of hide and seek between my sons Travis, age 14, and Ben, age 3.

"Aphelion" is an astronomical term that is roughly defined as the farthest orbit that a smaller body can have around a larger body before drifting away. This is occasionally how I feel as a jazz artist orbiting around the larger jazz canon and this piece attempts to represent that loneliness.

Originally entitled "NOVEM," a nine tone work for string quartet (which was premiered at the Oberlin Conservatory in 1991), "Sneaky" utilizes NOVEM’s active second movement as a springboard into free bop antics.


This album is dedicated to my late father, Louis Robles (1927-2003), who along with my mother, was my initial musical inspiration and most profound supporter through the years. Thanks for the music, Dad.

Very Special Thanks To: my wife Sue, mother Judy, and sister Cynthia for their unwavering support of me; Tatsu for ten years of mentoring me and for his work on this project; Sparrow and Joanie for their artistic freedom and all the other wonderful elements that Southport brings to the table; and Ryan Shultz for his superb musicianship, quick ear, and sensitivity.

- Tim O''Dell

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