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High-flying quintet to release debut album

The Icarus Ensemble

From left, Dean Franke, Jon Crabiel, Mark Ortwein, Peter Hansen and Gary Walters are the Icarus Ensemble. Ortwein and Hansen are UIndy music instructors.

Eight years after its founding at the University of Indianapolis, the Icarus Ensemble has produced an album.

Featuring current and former UIndy Department of Music faculty, the innovative classical-jazz-pop quintet will play the Jazz Kitchen on Sunday evening to launch its self-titled debut CD, a nearly all-original collection of challenging and engaging instrumental music.

“I think we as composers and players have figured out what makes a cool sound with these particular instruments,” says bassist Peter Hansen, who is in his 32nd season with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and has taught at UIndy since 1995.

In Icarus, Hansen is joined by fellow UIndy instructor and ISO regular Mark Ortwein on soprano sax, bass clarinet and bassoon; ISO violinist and former UIndy instructor Dean Franke; and pianist Gary Walters and drummer/percussionist Jon Crabiel, both of whom teach at Butler University and also perform at times with ISO. Hansen, Ortwein and Walters are the ensemble’s chief composers.

Since their February 2007 debut as an installment of UIndy’s Faculty Artist Concert Series, the five have performed a few times each year, sometimes in jazz clubs, sometimes with orchestral accompaniment. The band’s name is a reference to its key influences, the Paul Winter Consort and the related band Oregon, both known for blending elements of classical, jazz and world music in the ‘70s.

“I’d always had this thought that it would be great to start a band like that,” Hansen says. “I love classical music, but I love jazz and the stuff we’re doing and pop and rock music, too.”

Much of the Icarus Ensemble album was recorded at Jazzville Studios near Nashville, owned by noted pianist and UIndy faculty member Steve Allee. The recording and mixing were completed at Airtime Studios in Bloomington.

The music starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave. Admission is $15. The album also will be available for purchase as a CD or download on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and other sites.

Learn more about the Icarus Ensemble on its Facebook page.