Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

50

The Brian Landrus Quartet: Traverse

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
There is a gravitas in the musical intellect of baritone saxophonist/bass clarinetist Brian Landrus that can only come from a wellspring emanating from the depths of a very bluesy soul. His is a singular voice and, as he sings in sensuous, velvet tones, his long magical lines swing and swagger with rhythmic grace. Although his music is, at its heart, conceptually simple, he rarely stays in the linear path of the melody for long, preferring to be seduced by the dancing arpeggios that beckon; thus, he is apt to turn the music inside out, or warp it so that it seems to unfurl in dazzling whorls. He also prefers to eschew the sharp edges of tonal color and timbral extravagance—preferring, like Ben Webster, long before him, to let his hot breath emerge and from his horn and dissipate with sullen colors, smeared with the occasional gravity of bubbling cheerfulness in the upper reaches of the register of his horns.

On Traverse, Landrus is considerably darker and more ponderous than expected even of a musician given to sudden breaks of humor, as he dapples his songs with harmonies culled from the brighter tones of his deep woodwinds. The maturation of his visionary perspective is eminently authentic on this wonderful album. Moreover, Landrus is twice blessed: once, with the spritely pianism of Michael Cain, driving the vision, ideas and rippling upper melodies of several songs; then, with the rumbling brilliance of Lonnie Plaxico's bass. Of course, the glue that holds it all together is drummer Billy Hart's skittering rhythms, bringing a shimmering energy to the whole set.

The music is characterized by the utter spontaneity of it all, as the musicians appear to traverse the relative unknown brought by the unfolding. "Gnosis," with its Satie-like inscrutability, is a leap of faith. The oblique ode to George Russell, "Lydian 4" is a perfect example of this ensemble leaping into the unknown with calculated risk. Meanwhile, "Body and Soul" and "Creeper" contain music of profound beauty and can be heard as a manifest of that which has almost not been heard—such is the magic of invention.

Great music is defined as such because it can be heard, perceived and experienced on multiple levels, but the most delight is discovered in being soothed by the purity of the sound, the softness of emotion and the delicacy of touch. Here is music entwined with the infinite, its harmonies become a dramatic balancing of tensions between the dark horn and the bright piano, the throbbing bass and the shimmering of the cymbals. All this until the imaginary and improvised collides with the omnipresent concreteness of imagery, shattering conventions in magnificently explored music.

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

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: include(/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php5:/data/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html:/usr/share/php') in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Supreme" CD/LP/Track Review Supreme
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks" CD/LP/Track Review Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Slow Learner" CD/LP/Track Review Slow Learner
by John Sharpe
Published: December 7, 2017
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017