With the release of his band's second album, Focus, trumpeter and composer Paul Dietrich further hones his distinctive style. This genre-blurring album features Dietrich's characteristic lush harmonies and subtle melodies, gliding over a fresh, rhythmically adventurous framework. For Dietrich, the essence of Focus exists in a liminal space between introspective simplicity and organized chaos.
This duality can be partially explained by looking at Dietrich's early musical influences. The product of a musical family, Paul grew up in a household where hearing different kinds of music was an integral part of daily life. “I grew up hearing a lot of jazz and classical music from my parents, while my older brother listened mainly to progressive rock and metal.” Upon Paul's immersion in the jazz world, he found himself drawn to music that incorporated aspects from a wide array of styles. “A lot of the music I love walks the line between jazz, classical music, and prog rock, music that kind of challenges the boundaries of what we're used to classifying as genre.”
The Chicago-based quintet has been performing with the same lineup since 2012. The ensemble emanates a cohesiveness that can only exist after that much time together, sounding totally comfortable within the sometimes complex idiom of Dietrich's compositions. The group features two natives of Kenosha, Wisconsin, bassist Tim Ipsen and saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi, and pianist Paul Bedal is the only member of the group originally from Chicagoland. Dietrich goes back furthest with drummer Andrew Green, originally from Washington D.C. The two were classmates starting in 2006 at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.
What results is incredibly fresh and exhilarating set of compositions that when absorbed individually or on a whole captivate and invigorate the listener while simultaneously offering something comfortable.