On Urban Nomad
, Chicago saxophonist Geof Bradfield and his powerhouse quartet perform with tremendous spirit, maintaining a momentum that is vibrant and infectious. Bradfield's inventive, yet tightly-focused tenor and soprano playing is propelled by pianist Ron Perrillo, drummer George Fludas and bassist Clark Sommers, soaring through a mostly original set of charged-up progressive jazz.
Bradfield's compositions are full of shifting time signatures and lush harmonies. Most compelling, however, is the way the Columbia College instructor intertwines rhythmic and melodic motifs to create a lasting impression on the listener. The flowing lyricism of the title track, "Janus Groove" and "Ever Ever Land" present an accessible musical framework, surrounded by progressive improvisational structures. Even the more jagged-edged "Chin Check," with an extended, free-form dialogue between Bradfield and drummer Fludas can't escape being graceful.
The three non-Bradfield tunes on the disc are choice standards that fit nicely into the program. Harry Warren's "You're My Everything" is the perfect up-tempo showcase for Bradfield and pianist Perillo, Thad Jones' "Kids Are Pretty People" grooves along ever-so-patiently, and Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma" serves as an energetic, Afro-Cuban-inspired closer.
The disc's title aside, there is nothing nomadic about this ensemble. Bradfield and company are an in-sync, collaborative force, challenging each other along the way.
Personnel: Geof Bradfield: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Ron Perrillo: piano; George Fludas: drums; Clark Sommers: bass.