Tim O'Dell & Tatsu Aoki | Ancient Pines

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Ancient Pines

by Tim O'Dell & Tatsu Aoki

"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.
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Textual
Tim O'Dell
4:10 $0.99
2. The Drive
Tim O'Dell
5:49 $0.99
3. Toddler
Tim O'Dell
0:26 $0.99
4. Anticipation
Tim O'Dell
3:33 $0.99
5. Rise and Fall
Tim O'Dell
3:28 $0.99
6. Ancient Pines Suite: I. Fanfare/Squirrels
Tim O'Dell
5:35 $0.99
7. Ancient Pines Suite: II. Old Growth
Tim O'Dell
6:02 $0.99
8. Ancient Pines Suite: III. Majestic Perspectives
Tim O'Dell
4:58 $0.99
9. Come Here
Tim O'Dell
4:47 $0.99
10. Opinions
Tim O'Dell
6:43 $0.99
11. You Can't Find Me
Tim O'Dell
4:50 $0.99
12. Aphelion
Tim O'Dell
3:59 $0.99
13. Sneaky
Tim O'Dell
3:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
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 Review.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 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. As a leader for Chicago's Southport record label, Tim has released several albums including his latest nationally acclaimed CD, Ancient Pines.

Tim O’Dell is currently very active as a composer, bandleader and freelance saxophonist performing and recording with many ensembles and in different genres. In 2007 Tim recorded a trio CD with Chicago bassist Tatsu Aoki and Boston drummer Luther Gray, as well as an entire album of his large jazz ensemble compositions in the Midwest. The Matt Langley/Tim O’Dell Quartet, a New England group featuring Luther Gray, James Lyden and all original compositions, is soon to release its debut recording The Catalyst. Additionally, O’Dell currently performs with half a dozen other New England and Chicago-based groups/artists including Richard Nelson (who recently released Origin Story featuring Tim on alto saxophone).

As a recording artist for Southport Records, O'Dell has received glowing, national acclaim (see Reviews). His latest CD, Ancient Pines, featuring Tim’s writing and improvising with Chicago musicians Tatsu Aoki and Ryan Shultz, has received wide, critical acclaim as has O’Dell’s previous Southport release, Before My Life, which features ten of Tim's diverse compositions for jazz sextet. Another popular Southport album, Finally Elijah, showcases O’Dell’s improvisational gifts with former Ink Spots vocalist Elijah Levi. Tim has also released Red Fire Ant Trio: Live In Iowa City with Chicagoans David Pavkovik and Tatsu Aoki.

Tim O'Dell’s recordings have been broadcast on radio stations around the world and he has been invited to appear in Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, Portugal and Greece. O’Dell has performed professionally in a myriad of genres - from symphony orchestras to Cuban bands to urban funk bands to classical chamber ensembles to (many) jazz bands - and has done so in New York, Miami, Boston, Chicago, throughout the Midwest and greater New England. Tim has had the pleasure of performing with many renowned musicians (not mentioned above) such as Danilo Perez, Tim Hagans, George Garzone, Cuong Vu, Louis Bellson, Wycliffe Gordon, David Berkman, Gunther Schuller, Mick Rossi, Willie Pickens, Muhal Richard Abrams, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, George Russell and The Temptations.

A highly versatile, published composer O’Dell’s many dozen compositions cover genres ranging from string quartets to commissions for trombone ensemble to jazz chamber music to contemporary big band. Tim has also commissioned and premiered many new works himself including Gunther Schuller's Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, Bob Washut’s Online for jazz ensemble and Andy Laster's Valori Plastici for alto saxophone, French horn and piano, which Tim premiered in New York City.

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.

Dr. O’Dell currently teaches music at the University of Southern Maine and at Central Maine Community College and from 1993 to 2001 was Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Prior to Augustana, Tim held graduate teaching assistantships in Saxophone and Jazz Studies at the New England Conservatory and at the University of Iowa.

Tim O’Dell is a highly sought after clinician and adjudicator, and maintains a thriving saxophone and composition studio out of his home in Brunswick, Maine where he lives with his wife and two sons.


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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