NEW DIRECTIONS Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope: Mirage, John O’Gallagher: The Anton Webern Project

Here are a couple of lesser known artists that are trying to create some new directions for the jazz tradition. Impressive to say the least!

Brian Landrus plays just about every lower toned woodwind here, from Bass Sax to Bass Flute, and he uses these colors in a fascinating mix of sounds with Nir Felder/g, Frank Carlberg/key, Lonnie Plaxico/b, Rudy Royston/dr and a 4 piece string section conducted by Ryan Truesdell. The material is an ambitious collection of twelve tunes that melds energetic rhythms with intriguing melodies, supplemented by adventurous harmonies and accents provided by the strings. Felder’s guitar is a major player here, providing intriguing solos and thematic statements as on “Arrival,” while Landrus’ various  woodwinds such as the bass clarinet on the bouncy “I’ve Been Told” percolates like a Peruvian coffee. By the time his bass sax moves the earth on the closing “Kismet” you feel as if you’ve just listened to something very important, and I think you have. Very ambitious and yet accessible while pushing your limits a bit.

Alto saxist John O’Gallagher goes a different route by delving into the music of Anton Webern as an influence for these original compositions. The band which includes matt Moran/vibe, Pate McCann/g, Russ Lossing/key, Johannes Weidenmuller/b, and Tyshawn Sorey/dr is quite flexible and adept at these elliptical and angular pieces such as “Schnell” and “Ways Going Over.” The moods can get a bit eerie when the  B3 comes to play in “Five Pieces” and “Seventh Ring” which has vocalist Margret Grebowicz delivering a Lieder worth of lyrics. The bluesy “”Quartet” swings the most, while the others, as with Webern’s own classical material, is geared more for the head than the feet.

Blue Land Records

Whirlwind Recordings

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