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New Stratos LP Coming Out April 12th - Right Around The Corner

It took a little longer than planned, but the time has finally arrived!

On April 12th of 2024 (this month), the Stratos Ensemble will release our first creative modern jazz LP in years. It's called Freeing Form. Freeing Form will be available through all major online distributors (Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music, Tidal, etc.) in addition to being available both digitally and physically as CDs (or CDRs) through Bandcamp. You can read more about the album at the bottom of this post.

For fans in Los Angeles:

We weren't able to secure a venue in time for a CD release party, but indeed we plan on playing sometime this year, and we'll announce accordingly ahead of time when we do. For CD-release day on the 12th, however, we've decided to broadcast something live from our Facebook artist page. It will include the debut of a new music video for the album, and perhaps even a couple of guest appearances by Stratos band members. We'll announce more details on that FB page over the next week or so.

More about Freeing Form below.

Current Stratos Ensemble band members, and the main lineup on their new album Freeing Form are:

TJ Sammut (guitar)

Nichole Michelle Jones (vocals)

Dean De Benedictis (piano / lead synths / samplers / 2nd vocals / melodica / embellishments)

Coco Roussel (drums / percussion samples / additional synth)

Robert Gross (bass)

Shaunte Palmer (trombone)

Past players on this same album include:

Brandon McGregor (guitar), Rod McDowell (bass), Brock Bowers (drums), Carl Royce (upright bass), Daniel Coffeng (guitar), Jim Goetsch (additional synth / sampled piano).

Everything the Stratos Ensemble initially plays and records is fully improvised, including the lyrics. Some post production is then done by producer and band leader Dean De Benedictis, in order to tighten up performances and expand the sound. The band approaches jazz from a melodic, progressive and electronic train of thought, almost like alternative pop when compared to the free, non-idiomatic and purist stance generally prevalent in the modern jazz genre. The Stratos Ensemble looks at jazz the same way it looks at soundscapes, as a vast, sonic and melodic palette to paint with and cast shadows from.

The Stratos Ensemble's new album Freeing Form showcases works spanning from 2014-2023, and highlights the last two of those years. The LP is somewhat long awaited, but is also a huge departure from the band's usual format, being more vocal based when contrasted with the band's predominantly instrumental works of the past. The album’s title plays on the term free-form, a commentary on the world of free and improvised music. Freeing Form also suggests that freedom manifests in diverse ways, generally, and it encourages listeners to perceive freedom as a multifaceted concept, rather than an uncompromising and pure form in-and-of itself.

Freeing Form will be available through most major online retailers, give or take a couple, on April 12th of 2024.


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