The Landrus Kaleidoscope: Capsule (2011)
On Capsule his second album on his own BlueLand label, baritone saxophonist and reed multi-instrumentalist, Brian Landrus pushes the boundaries of jazz and explores a more fusion-like style inspired by Motown and other related genres.
Contributing to this electric sound is the addition of Nir Felder to the rhythm section whose Jimi Hendrix-like guitar on the Caribbean-flavored "Like The Wind" meanders away from the theme, giving the tune its jazzy edge, while Landruson the rarely heard bass fluteblows in gently at first, but becoming progressively more probing with each bar.
In addition to his usual acoustic piano, frequent Landrus collaborator/mentor/producer Michael Cain uses both electric keyboards and electric bass to enhance the 1970s feel of the record. On the romantic and fast-paced "Beauty," his atmospheric and hushed duet with acoustic bassist Matthew Parrish contrasts well with Landrus' emotion-laden, singsong bass clarinet, which ventures far from the melody without losing its way, while drummer Rudy Royston's urgent polyphonics both anchor and drive the music.
Gritty and cinematically dark themes are explored on two compositions. The soul/R&B vibe of "I Promise" is reminiscent of Blaxploitation-era soundtracks, with Cain's lazy piano setting the mood as the dialogue between Felder's blistering guitar and Landrus' resonant baritone saxophone enhances the atmosphere. The darker, more ominous feel of "71 & On The Road" is built upon the edgy yet fluid bass solo which serves as the foundation on which Landrus builds his equally haunting sax lines.
Afro-Cuban rhythms also make an appearance, especially on the title track that showcases Royston channeling his inner Art Blakey under the electric groove of Cain's Rhodes and Landrus' free form improvisation.
The soulful, almost spiritual "Wide Sky," with Cain's flowing notes, and the bluesy nocturne "Now," with soft but never smooth pianism, close the album on a quieter note bringing the unified theme of the disc to an appropriate conclusion.
Although not as intellectually stimulation as Traverse (BlueLand Records, 2011), the multifaceted Capsule packs enough of an emotional punch to engage and entertain.
Track Listing: Striped Phase; Like The Wind; Beauty; I Promise; Capsule; 71 & On The Road; Wide Sky; Now.
Personnel: Brian Landrus: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, bass flute; Michael Cain: Rhodes, piano, electric bass; Nir Felder: guitar; Matthew Parish: bass; Rudy Royston: drums.
Record Label: BlueLand Records