Q'd Up is a quintet comprising faculty members at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The group's latest album, Going Places, marks the end of an era, as two of its longest-serving membersmulti-instrumentalist Ray Smith and pianist Steve Lindemanare indeed "going places." In other words, they are retiring and making their final recorded appearance with the group, co-founded by Smith in 1983 as the Faculty Jazz Quintet, save for a companion album, Dawn Fire Mist, which is edgier and more avant- garde.
Notwithstanding the changing of the guard, the music on Going Places is more straight-ahead and swinging than sentimental, with drummer Jay Lawrence's gentle "Timpanogos Snowfall" (showcasing his melodious vibraphone, Smith's expressive tenor saxophone and guest Ron Brough on drums) the lone ballad on the menu. All eleven tracks are originals: half a dozen by Lawrence, two by guitarist Ron Saltmarsh, and three (including two vocal tracks) by Lindeman. Saltmarsh's guitar and Smith's alto saxophone are especially charming on Lawrence's sunny samba, "Muito Obrigado," which precedes another of his engaging themes, "Cole Portal" (get it?), whose seductive solos are delivered by Lawrence on vibes and Smith on flute.
Another Latin-centered piece, Lawrence's "Precipice of Eternity," features Smith's soprano saxophone, Saltmarsh's guitar, Eric Hansen's electric bass, Lindeman's electric piano and Lawrence's drums. Lindeman's undulating "Escarlatta" (written for his daughter, Scarlett) is a vehicle for vocalist Hayley Kirkland, as is the New Orleans-style "Tchoupitoulas." Smith, who plays no less than thirty instruments, has a clarinet solo on "Escarlatta," alto saxophone on the rhythmic "Twilight Train," tenor saxophone on the closing "Tio Timoteo," and excels whenever he appears. Guest Matt Larson adds his electric bass on "Escarlatta." The group's versatility lends a larger-than-quintet veneer and helps hold the listener's interest. A splendid swan song for the long-running Q'd Up (at least in its present framework). Best wishes to the remnants, and happy trails to Smith and Lindeman.
Going Places Arumana, Perfect Pizza, Tchoupitoulas, Timpanogos Snowfall, Muito Obrigado, Cole Portal, Precipice of Eternity, Escarlatta, The Twilight Train, Tio Timoteo.