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Seattle trumpeter/composer Chad McCullough makes his recording debut as a leader with Dark Wood, Dark Water, a diverse sextet outing featuring eight original compositions and a fresh take on the Lennon/McCartney classic "Blackbird." Along with the all-star rhythm section of pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Jeff Johnson and Drummer John Bishop, McCullough is joined by saxophonists Mark Taylor and Geof Bradfield.
McCullough proves a thoughtful improviser with technique to spare. His soloing on the opening "Three Pillars" and "Blackbird" builds from low-keyed rumblings to upper register, drawn-out runs. While many freshman discs result in nothing more than a showcase for an artists blazing chops, McCullough exhibits a refreshingly lyrical approach, especially on the warm-textured waltz "Home" and the brooding "Bock's Car." Trumpet players will appreciate the spirited blowing on the up-tempo swinger "Nightmare's Dance" and the Latin-inspired "Anatomy of Conscience." The latter features a fiery back-and-forth between McCullough and Bradfield.
As a composer, McCullough develops simple themes into enticing musical statements, enhanced by lush harmonic progressions. These characteristics give the disc an invigorating momentum, especially on plaintive pieces such as "Lock Down" and 'The Oracle."
Solo space is spread around equally, allowing Taylor and Bradfield plenty of opportunity to shine. Taylor's sizzling bebop turns on "Nightmare's Dance" stand out as a disc highlight. Anschell, Johnson and Bishop are a provocative rhythm section, able to keep things grounded while firing off explosive improvised rounds.
All in all, Dark Wood, Dark Water is an impressive first round for one of Seattle's young musical gems.
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 saxophone, soprano saxophone;
Geof Bradfield: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bill Anschell: piano; Jeff Johnson: bass;
John Bishop: drums.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com