The Brian Landrus Quartet ]|[ TRAVERSE -(MP3)- [Blue Land Records, 2011] -|- Album Review
Born in 1978 the versatile woodwind artist, composer, arranger, saxophonist and educator BRIAN LANDRUS emerges on the jazz scene in 2011 with his breakthrough debut album “TRAVERSE” on his own record label Blue Land Records features pianist Michael Cain, bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Billy Hart.
As you see, his accompanists alone are well worth the price of admission to engage yourself in the distinguish sounds of “TRAVERSE.” It’s rare to hear an artist groove with the flexibility, intellect and gravity while they’re in pursue of excellence to insure listeners have a wealth of flawless, creative and challenging music to baptize their souls in.
“TRAVERSE” the title piece is out of the box exceptionally smooth, cool, vibrant and deliciously inviting. Wait a minute please don’t let the word, cliché or phrase “Smooth” hinder you. The multifaceted Brian Landrus is much deeper then “smooth” could ever imagine itself being that he changes woodwinds frequently to accent his voice through the intensity of each song.
After growing up in Reno, NV he now lives in the boroughs of Brooklyn, NY. Obviously a highly regarded and in demand soloist Landrus has played with a variety of musicians over the years including Rakalam Bob Moses, Roscoe Mitchell, Jason Palmer, Danilo Perez, Martha Reeves, The Drifters and a host of others.
As the melodic colors progress bassist Lonnie Plaxico uses them as metamorphosis to crack the code of “GNOSIS” (co-authored by Landrus and Cain). The song flows amiably along to invite composer Landrus in for dialogue to exchange solos and ideas. Pianist Michael Cain adds velocity to the mix with lucrative sequences and textures intertwine to enhance the assorted pastel layers to this unique arrangement.
The album cover was painted by his Grandmother Ellen Landrus. She collaborated with artist Chris Sieracki to stroke swirls of brilliant colors, objects and abstract shapes capture the intricacies that are entailed throughout compositional landscape of “TRAVERSE.” Meanwhile, pianist Michael Cain’s prelude to “LONE” stretches a gorgeous metaphor onto the canvas to unfold an invitation to envelope the intimate side of Landrus compositional voice in this quaint duo setting is quite stimulating.
“LYDIAN 4” at the fourth spot is annunciated by the exploratory interplay of the Quartet. As I examine the ensembles imaginative voices, it occurred to me this song encompasses the ardent shapes and superlative tonality I love to hear as a listener.
Consequently, Landrus pens another solo composition this one’s titled “SOUL AND BODY.” The song is lyrically entangled with the quintessential fragments heard in “BODY AND SOUL.” He literally does justice to both pieces by marrying them virtually into one collective song!
“CREEPER” is undoubtedly what’s up! Landrus aptly masks the creative genius of the forefathers in the jazz to stabilize his own invaluable trendsetting style that’s powerfully addictive. Landrus closes the session with another attractive duo piece featuring Cain on piano along with himself on “SOUNDWAVE.” This jewel shimmers with layers of incandescent patterns and parallel shades interconnect their cohesive voices without a glitch.
I’m elated to have the opportunity to meet and spend time with this incalculable new voice in jazz named Brain Landrus. What I love about this project it’s approachable, yet there’s plenty of depth which allows the audibly challenging phonics room to converge brilliantly with the tangible compositions he etched in the body of “TRAVERSE.” —Rob Young | Reviewer
3. SOUL AND BODY
6. LYDIAN 4
7. BODY AND SOUL
BRIAN LANDRUS – BARITONE SAXOPHONE, BASS CLARINET
LONNIE PLAXICO – ACOUSTIC BASS
MICHAEL CAIN – ACOUSTIC PIANO
BILLY HART – DRUMS
PRODUCED BY – MICHAEL CAIN & BRIAN LANDRUS