* Biography

Short Bio

Composer/Saxophonist Tim O'Dell has released five diverse albums of his original music - including three on Chicago's Southport label - to glowing critical acclaim. “This is the sound of expanding American art” (All About Jazz). A forthcoming album features the iconic late Chicago saxophonist Fred Anderson.

Born in Oregon in 1966 and raised in the Midwest, Tim moved with his wife and sons to Maine in 2001. A profoundly versatile and singular voice, O'Dell has performed, composed and recorded in myriad genres throughout the United States and extensively in Chicago where he works with bassist Tatsu Aoki. In NYC Tim co-leads and composes for Makrokosmos Orchestra - a unique, 14-member ensemble whose pan-stylistic music showcases the stellar group's prodigious talents. “O’Dell designs hypnotic concepts that capture the imagination” (All About Jazz).

A recipient of numerous grants and awards, Tim has also commissioned and premiered saxophone works including Gunther Schuller's Sonata and Andy Laster's Valori Plastic. O'Dell has worked with (among others) Tim Hagans, Danilo Perez, Kevin Norton, Wycliffe Gordon, Louis Bellson, Bill McHenry, Muhal Richard Abrams and the Temptations.

Tim earned a Masters in Jazz Composition from the New England Conservatory and a Doctorate in Saxophone from the University of Iowa. Dr. O'Dell teaches at several Maine colleges/universities and has studied with Jimmy Giuffre, George Garzone, Kenneth Radnofsky, Donald Martin Jenni and George Russell.

Full Bio

Composer/Saxophonist/Educator Tim O'Dell has been called "The composer of Chicago" (Beyond Coltrane) and "A fine, new voice on alto - loose and swinging and broadly expressive" (Cadence). Born in Oregon in 1966 and raised in the Midwest, Tim relocated to the East Coast in 2001 from the Chicago scene. In Chicago, O’Dell records for Southport Records and has performed at the Jazz Showcase, the Hot House, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Velvet Lounge with many of the city’s finest musicians.

O’Dell’s three Southport albums as a leader - Dreams of Pangaea (for jazz orchestra, 2009), Ancient Pines (duets with bassist Tatsu Aoki, 2005) and Before My Life (for jazz sextet, 2001) - feature all original music by Tim and have received glowing, national acclaim. "Unexpectedly grand" (Chicago Sun Times) and "A perfect album" (Beyond Coltrane). A new, live Chicago album is forthcoming featuring the legendary, late tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson joined by O'Dell and Chicago stalwarts Tatsu Aoki and drummer Avreeayl Ra.

In 2012 the Tim O'Dell/Matt Langley Quartet, a New England group that performs all original compositions by Langley and O'Dell, released The Catalyst. “Quality of music is excellent . . . stunningly beautiful” (All About Jazz/New York). The 2013 trio album, At War’s End, features Tim's unique saxophone improvisations with the creative gifts of Tatsu Aoki and Boston drummer Luther Gray. O'Dell is currently working on new music for his latest project - Makrokosmos Orchestra. A New York City-centered 14 member ensemble, Makrokosmos Orchestra is dedicated to performing and recording O'Dell's, and co-leader Richard Nelson's, pan-stylistic compositions while featuring this unique ensemble's prodigious improvisational and creative gifts. “O’Dell designs hypnotic concepts that capture the imagination” (All About Jazz).

A versatile, published composer, Tim O’Dell’s copious works range from string quartet to piano to voice to diverse chamber music to large jazz ensemble. Tim’s music has been broadcast worldwide and he has been invited to appear in Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, Portugal and Greece. “This is the sound of expanding American art” (All About Jazz). O'Dell has received project grants and awards from the Maine Arts Commission, Augustana College Research Foundation and Quad City Arts; and he has commissioned and premiered significant works himself - including Gunther Schuller's Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano and Andy Laster's Valori Plastici which Tim premiered in Manhattan with horn player R.J. Kelley and pianist Mick Rossi.

Active as a bandleader and saxophonist, O'Dell has performed in New York, Miami, Boston, greater New England, Chicago, throughout the Midwest and on NPR's JazzSet hosted by Branford Marsalis. Exceptionally versatile with extensive training in both classical and jazz idioms, Tim has performed professionally in myriad genres including symphony orchestras, Cuban bands, funk bands, classical chamber ensembles, pop/rock groups, diverse jazz ensembles and as a concert soloist. In addition to the album projects that O'Dell has led, he has been featured on nationally acclaimed projects led by Richard Nelson, Elijah Levi and Tatsu Aoki; and Tim has appeared on numerous studio recordings. Tim O'Dell has had the pleasure of performing with many renowned musicians (in addition to those previously mentioned) such as Gunther Schuller, Danilo Perez, Kevin Norton, Ryan Shultz, George Russell, Wycliffe Gordon, Cuong Vu, Louis Bellson, Muhal Richard Abrams, Bill McHenry, Tim Hagans, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra and The Temptations. “The saxophonist is great” (Cadence).

O'Dell holds a Doctorate in Saxophone Performance from the University of Iowa, a Master of Music with Honors in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music with Honors in Saxophone with Jazz Emphasis from the University of Iowa. Tim has studied composition with George Russell, William Thomas McKinley, Donald Martin Jenni and Jimmy Giuffre; and has studied saxophone with George Garzone, Paul Scea, Ronald Tyree and Kenneth Radnofsky.

Artist Faculty and Lecturer at the University of Southern Maine since 2001, Dr. O'Dell also teaches saxophone at Bowdoin College and lectures at Southern Maine Community College. From 1993-2001, O'Dell was Assistant Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies at Augustana College in Illinois. Prior to Augustana, Tim held graduate teaching assistantships at the New England Conservatory (Founder/Director of the Jazz Composers' Ensemble) and at the University of Iowa (Jazz Studies and Saxophone). "A thinking man's player and composer" (Jazz Times).

Additionally, Tim is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator and maintains a thriving saxophone and composition studio out of his home in Brunswick, Maine where he lives with his wife and son.