Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

249

Brad Felt Nu Quartet Plus: First Call

John Barron By

Sign in to view read count
Veteran Detroit jazz musician Brad Felt has been championing the role of the euphonium and tuba as front-line instruments for over thirty years. Felt has an extensive sideman résumé, having performed with notable artists such as Roy Brooks, Martha Reeves and Howard Johnson's Gravity. First Call is an introduction to Felt's progressive jazz ensemble Nu Quartet Plus, featuring saxophonist and longtime musical associate Steve Wood.

Felt composes with an intriguing playfulness, building on rhythmic motifs and cleverly engaging euphonium and saxophone to develop his themes, all with an underlying propensity to swing. The blazing, bebop-inspired unison lines of the opening title track and straight-ahead flavor of "Invocation" contrast nicely with the layered entrances and harmonic spread of "The Truth About You" and sneakiness of "Surface Dwellers," with touches of intuitive, free-form blowing.

Bassist Nick Calandro—whose lyrical approach is an integral part of the ensemble—introduces the sly funk of "Explode the Modular," an appealing track with a simple motif bounced back and forth between Felt and Wood on soprano sax; a blending that works exceptionally well. Here, drummer Bill Higgins executes a dynamic sense of interplay and pianist Gary Schunk delivers a solo of astonishing single-note runs, bordering on the ethereal.

The Latin-tinged "If You Came to Me For Love" has an accessible appeal and contains exceptional solo turns, especially from Felt. The closing "High Contrast" takes shape with a kind of controlled approach to group improvisation. Indeed, in marked contrast, the tune eventually settles into an up-tempo burner based on the changes to "What is This Thing Called Love?" Wood, Felt and Schunk each wind their way emphatically through multiple choruses until the opening section is eventually re-introduced.

First Call is a bold musical undertaking from an empathetic cast. As a composer and performer, Felt's vision, steeped in the traditions of Detroit, is forward thinking and deserving of wide recognition.


Track Listing: First Call; The Truth About You; Empathic; Surface Dwellers; Invocation; Explode the Modular; If You Came to Me For Love; High Contrast.

Personnel: Brad Felt: euphonium; Steve Wood: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Gary Schunk: piano; Nick Calandro: bass; Bill Higgins: drums.

Title: First Call | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Launch Control

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk CD/LP/Track Review
Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Pardes CD/LP/Track Review
Pardes
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Music for a Free World CD/LP/Track Review
Music for a Free World
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Rats Live on No Evil Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rats Live on No Evil Star
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 9, 2018
Read "We Are All" CD/LP/Track Review We Are All
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 7, 2018
Read "Multiverse" CD/LP/Track Review Multiverse
by Chris May
Published: October 30, 2018
Read "Influences" CD/LP/Track Review Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Es schwindelt mir, es brennt mein Eingeweide" CD/LP/Track Review Es schwindelt mir, es brennt mein Eingeweide
by John Eyles
Published: August 30, 2018
Read "Murals" CD/LP/Track Review Murals
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: June 6, 2018
Read "Transcend" CD/LP/Track Review Transcend
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 26, 2018