IRIS was born out of the mutual desire of five young Chicago musicians to blend historic subgenres of jazz such as hard bop and post bop. Their self-titled debut comes out on Shifting Paradigm Records on May 3, 2024. Initially the brainchild of saxophonist Arman Sangalang, the band features trombonist Kirby Fellis, pianist Austyn Menk, bassist Morgan Turner and drummer Paul Barrilles.

The individuals in this ensemble are each garnering attention in their own right. Sangalang is the 2022 recipient of the Jazz Links Fellowship from the Jazz Institute of Chicago and has performed at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and Chicago Jazz Festival. He was named “Rookie of the Year” by RadioRadioX for his debut release Quartet. Fellis, a professor at Harper College, has worked with multi-grammy award winning vocalist Kurt Elling, drummer Nate Smith, and saxophonist James Carter and toured nationally with the Count Basie Orchestra. Turner leads her own quartet and was a part of the 2023 mentee class for the Women in Jazz Organization founded by saxophonist Roxy Coss. Menk, a committed music educator and administrator, has been forging his own path performing with the Blueshift Big Band and vocalists Mardra Thomas and Tatum Langley while serving on staff at the NIU School of Music. Barrilles is a sideman for many groups and his project Trio Profondo received international acclaim for their album Mosaics which was named Top 12 in France by Couleurs Jazz in 2023.

The music from IRIS is a product of their memorable experience from the highly esteemed Jazz Aspen Snowmass Academy in Colorado. As one of four groups from across the country selected to attend, the program allowed IRIS to immerse themselves in the teachings of renowned artists like Etienne Charles, Brian Lynch and Chuck Bergeron. Upon returning to Chicago, the group continued to develop their sound, touring across the Midwest to venues like Cliff Bell’s (MI), Jazz Central Studios (MN), Merriman’s Playhouse (IN), and Andy’s Jazz Club (IL). Fresh off their 2023 spring tour, the band headed into the studio and recorded at Kiwi Audio. The result is described as “a beautiful representation of jazz music in its current attire,” by guitar virtuoso Bobby Broom.

“IRIS has put together a beautiful debut recording that showcases a refined band sound while allowing room for each member’s unique voice to shine through! This is a killer band and a great recording!” – Saxophonist Greg Ward II

As leader