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Forward is a magical sonic journey charted by reeds and woodwinds master, Brian Landrus and explores the tonal depths of the ocean of sound that fewer saxophonists seem to traverse these days. Landrus plays baritone saxophone and bass clarinet on this adventure in sound, as well as alto flute, all of which makes for a breathtaking palette of colors when he is done. Landrus is a poet who has a mastery of tone, something he explores with gravity and a very gentle swing. His voice is singular, just a tad tremulous as he expels hot breath from deep within his guts, dallying over choice notes in a phrase. Landrus rushes arpeggio-like through other notes as he makes them shimmer and ripple in line after line. Sometimes he murmurs low down inviting his bassist and drummer to join him as he creates an orchestral kind of pedal point to propel the rest of the tune.
On this magnificent set, Landrus is joined by Harald Genzmer on tenor saxophone, Allan Chase on alto saxophone and Jason Palmer on trumpet. This trio enables Landrus to polish the melodies of his songs until they have a burnished glow to them. Pianist Michael Cain shimmers just below the surface, animating the harmony with ingenuity; on Thelonious Monk's plaintive "Ask Me Now," he adds a minimal but exquisite solo, which breathes as it darts and probes the expanding boundaries of the song. Bassist John Lockwood sways and punctuates the melody with harmonic grandeur. Drummer Bob Moses expounds his wizardry time and time again throughout the set, especially in his superlative brushwork on the Monk chart. Percussionist Tupac Mantilla provides the added color.
Landrus displays an epic narrative style of writing here, often accompanying the sonic tapestry with visual elements traced out of dense clouds of sound and color. On "The Stream," the power and fluid movement of a source of a larger river is captured in a frieze and then released as it charges over silt and stone, ever onward. "Shadows" navigates its way constantly through dark and light as Landrus' crepuscular introductory statements brighten. Then Michael Cain cracks open the sky to reveal a tableau of dancing shadows when the bass clarinet returns with arco bass and thundering percussion. "To Love and Grow" is a svelte ballad that swaggers sensuously in and around the alto flute, punctuated by Moses' brushes and the tinkling of Mantilla's bells, shells and sundry gourds. And so on, from one graphic beauty of a track to another, until the set reachesliterallyits "Destination," another choppy number led by the percussionists.
Brian Landrus is a voice to watch out for as he charts a creative course in contemporary music. What sets him apart is the lyricism of his compositions and his ability to tell interesting, vividly illustrated stories. This album serves as a happy omen of what should surely follow in the near future as Landrus' star begins to rise ever so majestically.
Track Listing: Ask Me Now; The Stream; Shadows; To Love and Grow; Classification; Forward; Beauty of Change; Interpretations; Destination.
Personnel: Brian Landrus: baritone sax, bass clarinet, alto flute; Michael Cain: piano; John Lockwood: bass; Rakalam Bob Moses: drums; Tupac Mantilla: percussion; George Garzone: tenor sax (2, 7); Allan Chase: alto sax (6, 9); Jason Palmer: trumpet (5, 6, 9).
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!