Trumpet. Piano. Bass. Drums. That's how I'm gonna start this Tiny Review. Four instruments; four simple words, and the short silent pause in between each unhurried word. In a world of modern jazz, where the sounds are as disparate as the instrumentation, here, on Imaginary Sketches, we have a simple straight-forward jazz album with modern jazz artists expressing the jazz tradition in their own voice.
This is a sublime affair, a beauty in the simplicity of the music, of how it's perpetually unhurried, and how it's so easy to appreciate each of the notes in each of the moments that comprise this excellent album. That's how I feel about it.
Chad McCullough has a way of making the silence between notes seem like an extension of the notes themselves. I don't mean in that masterful way that Miles Davis used silence to enhance the impact of what he played, but more like McCullough applies such a graceful touch to the end of each note that it still seems to ring even after it become inaudible.
And Bram Weijters is a perfect match for McCullough. Though his voice on piano has a sharpness to it that contrasts with McCullough's warmth, it's no less graceful in its sound and its respect for the silence between notes.
Whether it's the moody strolls of "Imaginary Folk Song" and "Burning Question" or a hopping track like "Free As Poetry" or the slow ballad "Late Night Long Drive", the quartet stays light on their feet without surrendering a low centered gravity. What results is happy-to-be-right-where-we're-at casualness, letting the compositions and musicians speak for themselves. It's a great album for a night when there's nowhere to go and you can just sit back and listen. The album doesn't require your full attention to enjoy it, but it'll probably grab it all anyways.
Jazz from the Pacific Northwest scene, though Weijters is from Antwerp, so tough to nail this group down to one geographical region.