La Espada de la noche (linked above), by Ted Nash and his band Odeon, is rapidly becoming my favorite album. Occasion, by Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis is vying for the top spot as well, but I'll leave a discussion of that one for another day.
Odeon is an awesome jazz quintet. Well, not exactly jazz... but the group is shaped much like the quintets made famous by Horace Silver. Silver's quintets contain:
- Tenor sax
- Piano (Silver himself)
- Drum set
- Comping instrument
- Bass line
Odeon is no different in the basic structure, but (get this!) the instruments chose to play the fixed roles are these:
- Tenor Sax/Clarinet
- Tuba/Trombone/Baritone Horn
- Drum set
And it works! It's not exactly what some call "jazz," but the instrumentation creates a really neat feel of a tango/klezmer ensemble with a brass band influence. You can click this post's link, above, to go to Amazon and hear some clips from the CD.
It's great stuff, and all the better because it's unusual. Those who know me best are aware that the thing I value most in music is unpredictability, and this novel ensemble are about as unpredictable as it gets without straying into some sort of Schoenbergian serialism. There's even a rendition of "Night in Tunisia" on the album for the jazz devotees, but it's played in a style you've never heard before. I highly recommend it, both as an intellectual exercise in broadening your musical horizons and as a piece of art that's just really good.