THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago trumpet player Emily Kuhn’s debut album Sky Stories is a celebration of Chicago’s natural beauty and its diverse musical communities. The album brings Kuhn’s lyrical compositional voice together with some of the most innovative musicians from the jazz, classical, Latin, folk, and world music scenes in the city, weaving diverse musical threads into a lush soundscape that floats freely between improvisation and orchestration.
The album features two bands: Helios, a chamber jazz nonet made up of a string quartet, vocals, trumpet, saxophone, bass, and drums, and Kuhn/Suihkonen/Friedman/Ernst, an improvising jazz quartet with two trumpets, bass, and drums. Some of the songs, like Horizon and Anthem, are meditative musings, featuring expanding textures and melodies over pulsing, repetitive basslines. Others are more angular: Fit is a free jazz composition reminiscent of Ornette Coleman tunes, while Beanstalk is centered around punchy, explosive rhythms. Roses and Queen for an Hour are exuberant and richly textured, with playful melodic lines and ample room for improvisation. The album alternates between contemporary sounds and string arrangements evocative of classic jazz recordings, such as Kuhn’s take on the jazz standard Body and Soul. Each song tells its own story of a specific moment in time and space; taken together, they create a rich homage to the vastness, intimacy, and ephemerality of Midwest landscapes and skies.”