Trumpeter Ted Chubb offers a well-balanced album of four originals and four thoughtfully-arranged covers on Gratified Never Satisfied, his third record as a leader. With solid, in-the-pocket musicianship and strong chemistry among his bandmates, it's an enjoyable outing likely to generate some buzz for this up-and-coming jazzman.
Chubb is a disciplined, meticulous soloist, and whether he's providing tenacious licks with up-beat material like the record's title track or pensive musings on the ballad standard "My Ideal," Chubb does justice to the music without ever reaching too far beyond the comfort zone. Chubb's compositions here are generally in a straight-ahead vein, not straying much from the mid-60s Blue Note sound, with perhaps a bit of 70s style emerging from keyboardist Oscar Perez's Fender Rhodes, which he plays on all but two of the tracks on the record. Perez, along with guitarist Seth Johnson, bassist Tom DiCarlo and drummer Jerome Jennings, is a central component of the rhythm section's tight-knit character, with strong control and precision always in evidence. Like Chubb, altoist Bruce Williams keeps things well contained while generating some fine solo moments throughout the record, with his patient, expansive articulation of ideas on "Space" worthy of special note.
Although his originals are effective, it's really on the covers that Chubb's ingenuity shines through most clearly, through selections and arrangements that add some unique flavor. An old chestnut like "East of the Sun" takes on an infectious African-inflected groove, and Wayne Shorter's "Adam's Apple" is straight-up funk a la Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters period. Even Willie Nelson's "Everywhere I Go" is given a spiced-up treatment to close the record with a bit of catchy Caribbean-sounding Americana. Much of the credit here should go to Johnson, whose guitar contributions on these cuts really give them some extra magic. While his presence is sometimes a redundancy on the other tracks, his multifaceted stylistic palette is front and center on the covers, and it's one of the reasons these tracks stand out.
The creativity Chubb displays here, especially on the cover tunes, reveals a musician who should have more to say as he continues to hone his own compositional style. It will be interesting to see what the future will hold for this poised and determined trumpeter.
Gratified Never Satisfied; Space; East of the Sun; Little Sid; My Ideal; Adam’s
Apple; Tuesday; Everywhere I Go.
Ted Chubb: trumpet; Bruce Williams: alto saxophone; Seth Johnson: guitar; Oscar
Perez: piano/Fender Rhodes; Tom DiCarlo: bass; Jerome Jennings: drums.
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