OutSource is a quintet assembled to explore a territory in jazz that I think has been overlooked: the repertoire of compositions in free and freer jazz. While we play some of my pieces too, the emphasis is on finding our own ways of expression through playing music from this part of the jazz tradition.
A great deal of attention has been given to the "neoclassical" approach to jazz as practised by Wynton Marsalis and many of the young lions who currently claim to represent the essential traditions of jazz. While I think they are formidable musicians, I also know that they employ selective perception when they talk about that tradition. My tradition includes Carla Bley, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, Giuseppi Logan and many others, as much as it includes Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.
My idea for OutSource was to play compositions from some of the founding "sources" of the "outside" movement in jazz and to do so in a way that was consistent with what the musicians in the group felt about their own playing in the present. In other words, I wanted to explore the melodies, rhythms, structures, textures, moods and atmospheres of this part of jazz tradition in a way that is musically authentic and contemporary, not just as an exercise in being musical museum curators.
OutSource has been together since 1997. At first, it came together for a one-time-only benefit concert for a theatre company. But when I heard the recording our playing, there was a group sound I had been looking for for more than 20 years: saxophone, guitar, vibes, bass and drums was the blend I had been hearing, and these were the musicians who could make it sound.
The musicians in the group embody a spectrum of musical experience and skills that make playing exciting, creative and thoroughly musical. Juno Award winning guitarist/composer Michael Occhipintis blues roots show up in the most unexpected places; fed up with the orthodoxy of the jazz guitar tone, he uses every gig as an opportunity to explore his instruments sound resources. Vibist Allan Molnar is also a drummer; this skill, combined with his experience in Latin music, keeps rhythm at the center of OutSources performances, not puttering along in the background.
Michael Morse is a bassist whose extraordinary ear and imagination allow all of us to take chances and know that, whatever we do, he will find a way to weave it into the tapestry of sound in a strong and meaningful way. Drummer Barry Romberg is not a much sought-after musician for nothing. From the muscular to the delicate, his touch, sound and solidity make our wildest adventures "speak". OutSource is now an organic whole, attuned to one another and attuned to making music that lives in the moment.