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Dos Santos' Borderless Psych Jazz Is Ecstatic and Essential

So many great jazz experimenters are in Chicago right now, so you'd best catch up—starting with "logos," from this quintet's album of the same name.
Photo by Andrea Falcone

In the last few years, Chicago's become home to a certain kitchen-sink approach to jazz tropes, where rap beats, tape manipulation, and raga-esque guitar pieces can live amiably alongside the accepted squelches of saxophone and percussive polyrhythms. From the outside, it seems like fairly loosely connected scene, just a collection of weirdos who've ended up in the city at the same time, making a lot of vibrant and exciting music. One of those crews of jazz-futurists is Dos Santos, a quintet who's spent the last five years exploring the connections between the history of genres like cumbia and salsa, jazz's hinterlands, and the complicated legacy of American popular music.


Today, they're following last year's Summit Sessions EP with news of a forthcoming record called Logos and the mind-expanding title track from that collection. The track's built around four minutes of droney organ grooves, fluttering hand percussion, and the reedy voice of singer Alex Chavez, who offers a desperate, almost existential plea to be recognized in the song's chanted chorus: "Cuéntame en palabras que aún conozco / Mírame los ojos, háblame a el oído" ("Tell me in words that I, too, speak / look into my eyes, talk into my ear"). The kicker is the horn section, borrowed from the Brooklyn afrobeat band Antibalas, who imbue the whole piece a slippery, ecstatic energy that the band so often evoke.

Fittingly, for the album, the band have teamed up with fellow Chicagoan jazz adventurers at International Anthem, a label responsible for a whole lot of the most freaky and endearing music from the city and from similarly minded artists across the world (The 7" is a co-release with Sonorama and Royal Hands). It's hard to imagine a more fitting home so play this new track below—and then dive deep into the vast back catalogs of both Dos Santos and International Anthem. You won't be sorry.

"logos" b/w "¿cómo?" is out today on International Anthem, with the 7" release aided by Sonorama and Royal Hands. Logos, the full-length, will be out on June 15.