Cordoba fight state-sanctioned violence with experimental jazz in Specter, their sweeping, soulful new album. It’s the Chicago sextet’s debut full-length LP, and its eleven tracks bristle with a restlessness that reflects the band’s collaborative, often improvisational approach.

Specter is motivated by a deep-seated feeling that the fabric of society is quickly unravelling, and the songs react to issues like gentrification, police brutality, and escalating social unrest,” the band says in a statement. “We also reflect on feelings of isolation and anxiety that have only been amplified in this time of pandemic. For this album, we were really excited to be joined by … a cast of killer jazz musicians from Chicago’s local scene.”

Cordoba started releasing music in 2016 and currently consists of vocalist Brianna Tong, vocalist / multi-instrumentalist Eric Novak, guitarist Cam Cunningham, keyboardist Zach Bain-Selbo, bassist Khalyle Hagood, and drummer Zach Upton-Davis. On Specter they’re variously joined by vocalist A.ADISA, Eli Namay on bass, Matt Riggen on trumpet, David Fletcher on trombone, and the Kaia String Quartet. 

We invited the band to break down every song on the album, which follows a quarantine cover Frank Ocean’s “Ivy,” 2018’s Break the Locks Off Everything New, 2017’s Dream • Consume • Break, and 2016’s Rust. Check out their responses and listen to Specter below. 

Cam Cunningham: This is the original Cordoba bop. It’s the only tune that appears on both an old release and Specter. We have been playing this one live for a few years,