202

Chad McCullough: Dark Wood, Dark Water

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Chad McCullough: Dark Wood, Dark Water Seattle-based trumpeter Chad McCullough has assembled a North-West all-star line-up for his debut release, Dark Wood, Dark Water, mixing it up with Origin Records regulars on an inspired, modern-leaning post-bop outing.

On "Three Pillar," a silky three-horn harmony blows in like a brisk wind in the embrace of the top-tier rhythm team of bassist Jeff Johnson, pianist Bill Anschell and drummer John Bishop. McCullough and his frontline-mates—saxophonists Mark Taylor and Chicagoan Geof Bradfield—blend their sounds in Duke Ellington fashion until the leader takes flight on an inspired solo. McCullough's tone is clean and cool, with a gathering intensity, before he fades down and hands off to the soprano sax with a tart tone enmeshed in the cohesive rhythm. Johnson emerges on one of his characteristic Zen bass solos, and pianist Anschell sparkles.

McCullough and company take on Lennon/McCartney's "Blackbird." One of two non-McCullough-penned tunes on the disc, the familiar melody has seen its share of splendid jazz interpretations—on drummer Tony Williams' Neptune (Blue Note records, 1992) featuring trumpeter Wallace Roney, and, more recently, by cellist Henning Sievert on Blackbird (Pirouet records, 2009), to name just two. McCullough's version wanders further from the melody than most, via labyrinthine soprano lines and the leader's own long and winding road story, told with his clean articulation floating over the gently propulsive rhythm.

McCullough's "Nightmare's Dance" cooks over a high, controlled flame before some of Taylor's tight sax lines weave a tight web through the ensemble interplay. "Lock Down," inspired by an actual lockdown of a school due to a gun on campus, treads dark ground in a sad and reflective mood.

Anschell's "Dreamscape" has a tender and pensive feeling, featuring both sopranos blowing sweetly, with McCullough exhibiting a deep, rich flugelhorn tone, followed by spare, inward, piano turn by Anschell.

.Dark wood, Dark Water, with its organic interplay and beautiful, surprise-filled soloing, is a marvelous debut by an inspired newcomer, on a record label that—with lots of debut discs to its credit—is doing more than its fair share to keep the art form vibrant.


Track Listing: Three Pillars; Blackbird; Nightmare's Dance; Lock Down; Home; Bock's Car; Anatomy of Conscience; Dreamscape; The Oracle.

Personnel: Chad McCullough: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mark Taylor: alto and soprano saxophones; Geof Bradfield: tenor and soprano saxophones; Bill Anschell: piano; Jeff Johnson: bass; John Bishop: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Origin Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Further Explorations" CD/LP/Track Review Further Explorations
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Triangular III" CD/LP/Track Review Triangular III
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 15, 2016
Read "Salt Task" CD/LP/Track Review Salt Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Nearness And You, Duets and Improvisations" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness And You, Duets and Improvisations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Cornua Copiae" CD/LP/Track Review Cornua Copiae
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!