3

Chad McCullough & Bram Weijters: Urban Nightingale

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Chad McCullough, with one CD under his own name—the outstanding Dark Wood, Dark Water (Origin Records, 2009)—has also contributed his distinctive voice to recordings by the Kora Band and Tunnel Six, all under the Origin Records banners. But the Seattle-based trumpeter must have a European sensibility; his finest work to date has been in teaming, as co-leader, with artists from the other side of the Atlantic—Slavakian pianist Michal Vanoucek, on The Sky Cries (Origin Records, 2010), and Antwerp-based pianist Bram Weijters, on Imaginary Sketches (Origin Records, 2011), and now, again with Weijters, on what could be a breakout effort for both players, Urban Nightingale.

Recordings that are tagged "breakouts" aren't necessarily way better than the efforts that preceded them. It's more a matter of the output reaching a critical mass of sustained excellence that pushes the music to a level where it gains greater notice. A re-visitation of McCullough's previous CDs as leader or co-leader reveals a well-developed artist who is smart enough to pick great sidemen starting out with his Dark Wood, Dark Water debut. He is a rare instrumentalist who makes each note sound as if it were imbued with a deeper meaning. Certainly a player with great chops, his approach—especially on his two teamings with Weijters—is one that is a measured and deliberate, often introspective, sometimes gorgeously melancholic, and one that employs a continuity of mood and atmosphere that the best recordings have.

That said, Weijters is, perhaps, more responsible for the concepts of their two CDs together. His is the dominant songwriting voice, having penned five tunes to McCullough's two on Imaginary Sketches and seven tunes to McCullough's two on Urban Nightingale. His piano playing has a distinctively searching quality, and he has added to his arsenal (or at least brought it into play since Imaginary Sketches) the Fender Rhodes, which he uses to give some of the tunes a gritty, urban atmosphere.

Inside the sound is the perfect, understated bass pulse of Piet Verbist and subtle percussive intricacies of drummer John Bishop the super sideman in the drum chair for Origin Records, also the label's honcho, and one of the finest CD cover art designers in jazz, rounding out the quartet on an outstanding set of sounds.

Track Listing: Nightingale; Residu; Freezing; Love Song; Flow; Tired and Dizzy; Buildings in a Dark City; Phrygian; Downtime.

Personnel: Chad McCullogh: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bram Weijters: piano, Fender Rhodes; Piet Verbist: bass; John Bishop: drums.

Title: Urban Nightingale | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Origin Classical


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Cherry ‎– Sakura CD/LP/Track Review Cherry ‎– Sakura
by John Sharpe
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Blow, Strike & Touch CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Morphometry" CD/LP/Track Review Morphometry
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Grace
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "Expanding Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Expanding Heart
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Fractured Pop" CD/LP/Track Review Fractured Pop
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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