Friday, May 13, 2011

Chad McCullough and Bram Weijters: Imaginary Sketches

Origin Arts
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Imaginary Sketches

Trumpeter/composer Chad McCullough is another multiple-degreed college grad who is part of the Seattle jazz scene. Pianist Bram Weijters was born and schooled in Belgium, which remains his primary residence. They’re joined here by two other Seattle artists: bassist Chuck Deardorf and drummer John Bishop. They’re an impressive quartet.

All the tracks are original compositions: five by Weijters, two by McCullough and one by singer/songwriter Ron Hynes, who resides and works with folk groups in Newfoundland. The style is “calm” progressive jazz, almost classical at times; it’s all instrumental (no vocalists), but the harmonics and phrasing are such that one can imagine lyrics being part of the original package. All but two tracks are done at balladic tempos; “tone poems” would be an accurate descriptor. The exceptions are “Speeding” and “Free As Poetry,” both written by Weijters. They groove nicely; the former is almost a “burner,” while the latter borders on funk.

McCullough and Weijters are masters of their instruments, and Deardorf’s bass is truly outstanding. In material this complex, a strong rhythm section is mandatory, and both Deardorf and Bishop hold it all together masterfully.

I’ve always regarded this kind of music as “thinking man’s jazz”: the kind of stuff you can listen to for hours.

This disc is another fine example of the high quality achieved by artists who inhabit the Pacific Northwest. The liner notes don’t indicate how McCullough and Weijters got together, but we can be grateful they did. Further, I hope some repeat sessions will be forthcoming.

No comments: