The group combines a vast array of influences, everything from jazz and funk to klezmer and Balkan folk music, and applies it to their unique instrumentation, forming an interesting and exciting sound that is unlike any other group performing in the city. “Now that we’ve played so much together, we are developing a sound,” says alto saxophonist and bandleader Greg Bruce. “It’s not really bound by genre, but we’re getting an approach to what we’re doing … it’s always semi-dark, yet very fun dance music.”
According to Bruce, the group started simply as a way to have some fun and play some of his favourite music. “I wanted to start a band to play music of this group called The Tiptons, and I hadn’t been writing much music at the time, but this is my favourite band of all time and they sell their charts, so I was like, ‘alright, let’s put together a band,’” he says. Chris Harnett jokes that Ouroboros began as a tribute band to The Tiptons, yet as the band began playing and writing together more frequently, the group developed a life of its own. The group first performed in late 2012, before serving as the house band for Wonderbolt Circus, contributing to the biennial Sound Symposium, and winning fans at the most recent Lawnya Vawnya festival … where they received a whopping 9-star review from Exclaim Magazine for their performance.
This past summer as part of the Sound Symposium, the group also got the opportunity to work with one of the members of The Tiptons, composer and saxophonist Jessica Lurie. Ouroboros underwent a series of intensive workshops with Laurie, focusing on composition and performance, culminating with Laurie joining the group on stage for a set at The Ship to perform some of the group’s compositions. “Jessica taught us to listen to each other a bit more and work together,” says Susan Evoy.
The group certainly worked together to produce their debut album, released on May 1st. Ouroboros underwent a series of extensive rehearsals before entering Trunk Lane Studios with engineer Steve Lilly, where the album was recorded in just three days. Recorded live off the floor with the group performing together in one room with little added production, the result is a ‘snapshot’ of the group’s sound that captures their raw energy and excitement. A vinyl release of the album is also coming in the near future.
Ouroboros are currently planning their summer schedule, leading up to a performance at Harbourside Park on September 11th before the group hits the road, playing shows and festivals across Eastern Canada while making their way to the Guelph Jazz Festival.
Check out www.yourouroboros.com for more info.