April 10, 2015

Friday night live at Transistor: modern jazz from Ishmael Ali’s Zebec and Dan Meinhardt’s Outset. Sound by Jon Monteverde.


Zebec was formed in early 2014 with the goal of writing and performing original instrumental improvised music. The group is led by Columbus-bred guitarist and composer Ishmael Ali Zghoul and consists mainly of jazz musicians living in the Chicago area. The project is dedicated to exploring sound through the collaborative improvisation, jazz, free jazz, as well compositional and aesthetic concepts of the avant-garde.

Ishmael Ali Zghoul is a guitarist and composer currently residing in Chicago. He is originally from Columbus, Ohio where he studied music at Capital University, graduating with a B.A. in Music and a minor in Art History. There, he studied under some wonderful musicians, including master guitarist Stan Smith. Ishmael relocated to Chicago in fall of 2013 to pursue his master’s degree in Jazz Studies with a focus on composition, which will be completed in June of 2015. His current projects include Zebec, a quintet that plays original music as well as music from Dr. Yusef Lateef’s One Hundred Twenty Three Duets; The Ali Humpherys Duo, which performs weekly at Café Bella; and a septet that Ishmael also writes for.

Rotating members of the Zebec include:
Natalie Lande – alto sax
Thom Caminito – tenor sax & bassoon
Billy Wolfe – tenor sax, clarinet, & bass clarinet
David Fletcher – trombone
Ishmael Ali – guitar
Michael Humpherys – bass
Matt Carroll - drum set
Zach Yanez – drum set


Outset is Dan Meinhardt’s current project. Formed in 2013, the group has joined Chicago’s diverse musical landscape with a voice impossible to ignore. Joined by trumpeter Justin Copeland, bassist Tim Ipsen, and drummer Andrew Green, Meinhardt leads the quartet through challenging yet accessible original compositions and arrangements. The group, modeled on Ornette Coleman’s classic chordless quartets, maintains the spontaneous, conversational nature of Coleman’s highly improvised music. Outset keeps a sense of accessibility by playing familiar grooves, melodies and harmonies – yet there’s enough complexity to keep the keenest ear listening. Since emerging on the Chicago scene, Outset has performed in some of the city’s favorite venues to enthusiastic audiences.

For their performance at Transistor, Outset continued to fine-tune their original material in preparation for a recording in May of 2015.

Visit Outset’s website.


Poster by Kendra Hutchings

Poster by Kendra Hutchings