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Michael Engdahl's Odisea - Live at Barleycorn's


Wichita Jazz

Michael Engdahl's Odisea plays the kind of smooth, relaxing jazz that many acts seem too proud to touch these days. Or maybe, that listeners seem too distracted to appreciate. However it is, I don't find recordings like this being doted upon by modern listeners with the consideration they deserve.

Without being bored or cavalier, this group plays their songs with a clear enthusiasm for smooth jazz that is elaborated again every measure. I don't want to call it "traditional" because there are times where Michael Engdahl's Odisea changes it up, quickening or deconstructing the song in fresh ways. Even these parts of improvisation are themselves a love-letter to smooth jazz.

The Odisea are not reinventing the wheel, but testing out a smooth redesign, with modern tweaks.

Give this one a listen, not to push edges and break new ground, but to relax in sounds that are familiar and comforting. Like a Shelby kit-car put together by a fine, freshly graduated mechanic. Lighter than before, and burning cleaner fuel, but a great way to have a taste of some of the old muscle-power.

- JK