Departure marks Oscar Utterström’s second release as leader. The CD features nine original songs that mix jazz with elements of rock and electronica.
Utterström’s original intent was to showcase his Nashville-based quintet, comprised of Adam Agati (Ludacris, Marcus Miller) on guitar, Russell Wright (Johnny Neel, Mile 8) on bass, drummer Justin Amaral (Jim Lauderdale, Michelle Wright), and Black Cat Sylvester (Futureman, Jeff Coffin) on turntables, live in the studio. The live recording was then taken to a higher level of production by co-producers Black Cat Sylvester and Jason Andrews. On several tracks, Oscar plays electric trombone, using guitar pedals and effects, and this combines with the turntables of DJ Black Cat Sylvester to provide a unique approach to the instrument and to horn-driven jazz.
The writing on the album mixes Utterström’s Swedish roots with American and world music, resulting in a sound that is unmistakably his own. His songs reflect fundamental and universal aspects of life, including the celebration of birth and the pain of losing loved ones. Songs like Gratitude, Departure (featuring rapper Bobby Exodus), a new version of Eternal Being, and Movin' On (featuring vocalist Christina Watson) deal with these emotions and shared experiences. Ego shows how the mind’s chatter can be wildly chaotic and humorous at the same time, and it features the brilliant talents of Bobby Exodus and saxophonist Chris West. Snow depicts a harsh reality, whereas Rain reminds us, per Eastern philosophy, how we are all connected. Dr. Hari Haran is featured on vocals and Indian flute.
As a freelance trombonist, Utterström has had the opportunity to perform with acts such as Kelly Clarkson, the Temptations, Wycliffe Gordon, Jeff Coffin, David “Fathead” Newman, Nils Landgren, Kirk Whalum, the Four Tops, Canadian Country superstar Johnny Reid, Diamond Rugs, and My Morning Jacket (Bonnaroo and Madison Square Garden).
"[Oscar's] latest recording, Departure, is one of the finest electric jazz recordings to be released in the last several years. [...] Utterstrom's conception is at the best of what can be achieved in an electric, post Bitches-Brew era. Extremely captivating tracks such as "Snow" and "Rain Part 1" are nicely contrasted by mellow ballad artistry on "Gratitude". There is also an touchingly beautiful solo performance by Utterstrom on organ on "Eternal Being(postlude)" which is celestial."
- Chris Cooke KIOS 91.5FM
"Swedish jazzbo recording in Nashville shows the chops that have made him a go to trombone man for so many as well as the chops that show he's got his eye on the future. A fizzie of world jazz and acid jazz [...] A wild ride for instrumental music fans that live for the unfettered mash up."
- Midwest Record
"Utterström is a very fine composer and arranger, and shines brightest when he’s writing adventurous but carefully-orchestrated pieces for his quartet like “Departure” and “Rain.”
- Rick Anderson CD HotList
"Departure is a unique work of art by Swedish trombonist Oscar Utterstrom.
Oscar and his unique band and singers have created a prayer for
transcendence in a wounded world."
- John Shelton Ivany