155

Brian Landrus Quartet: Traverse

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
The baritone saxophone: a low-down, honking, raw and randy piece of musical metal, isn't it? What about the baritone saxophone as a romantic, seductive and rather beautifully mellow instrument? Not so likely? Well, once it's placed in the hands of Brian Landrus, the romantic side of the instrument isn't just likely, it seems to be exactly how it was destined to sound. Landrus is a master of this rather unwieldy instrument, and leads a top-flight quartet on Traverse, a set of richly creative original tunes that reaffirms his Rising Star award in the 2010 Downbeat Critics Poll.

Traverse is straight-ahead jazz, melodic and accessible. This approach is somewhat in contrast to Landrus' previous Forward (Cadence Jazz Records, 2010), which drew on a wider range of styles. As a result, Traverse is equally stylish but perhaps more consistent and more immediately accessible. Pianist Michael Cain was also on Forward, but here Landrus and Cain are joined by a new bass and drums partnership: the vastly experienced and talented Lonnie Plaxico and Billy Hart, who both ensure that the tunes swing with passion.

The slow and smoky "Soul and Body" is a Landrus solo performance which clearly demonstrates his control, tone and command of the baritone's full range. It's followed by the quartet's take on Johnny Green's "Body and Soul," featuring Plaxico's lovely bass solo, as well as more exceptionally fine lead baritone from Landrus. On "Gnosis," Landrus moves over to bass clarinet, his playing just as impressive, while Cain delivers a sparklingly percussive solo. The album closes with the brief but beautiful "Soundwave," a slightly mournful duet between Landrus and Cain.

Traverse is the first release on Landrus' own BlueLand Records. Establishing a new record label may well seem like a rather risky step in these straightened times, but Traverse is a great debut for the label and bodes well for its future—and for the future of the baritone sax.

Track Listing: Traverse; Gnosis; Lone; Lydian 4; Soul and Body; Body and Soul; Creeper; Soundwave.

Personnel: Brian Landrus: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Michael Cain: piano; Lonnie Plaxico: bass; Billy Hart: drums.

Title: Traverse | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: BlueLand Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Avenida Graham" CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Trickster" CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Open Air" CD/LP/Track Review Open Air
by John Kelman
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.