It's not every trumpeter that affectionately garners the appellation, "Little Red Rodney," as Chicago-born and now Boulder, Colorado-located artist, Brad Goode once did. And, it's not only because of what grows from under his cap and on his chin. Goode, who has performed with the "Red Arrow" and many other jazz and pop greats as both a lead and jazz player, is world-renown as an incredibly talented and multi-dimensional trumpeter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, "jazz ambassador" and educator.
With Montezuma Goode leads a stellar rhythm section through eight energized selections, half of which are his originals. The title cut sets the tone for this superb and intelligent date. Goode's chops - and there are plenty - soar from the get-go over the Horace Silver-like Latin riff. He plays in a unique, highly inventive style with great command of his axe, eschewing cliched licks. Here and across the entire date he threads out longer, fluid lines across the entire range of his horn and its textural rainbow. "Joe" is a Hard Bop cooker that showcases fine pianist Adrean Farrugia's skill set before Goode joins in the fray, spinning inventive surprises with bassist Sill and subsequently, drummer Lee stepping up to shine.
Goode's foursome - affectionately called "The Geographically Undesirable Quartet" - is generationally diverse, with their birth dates spanning across four decades. However, the cohesion and collective artistic focus that the group generates here is laser-concentrated. Take Kelly Sill's gorgeous original, "Naomi" where both the pianist and then Goode, with Miles-like Harmonizing, sing and then expand on beautiful melodic content. "My Funny Valentine," is given a slight re-harm flavoring, showing gorgeous new wine from older vintage. Stevie Wonder's "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" gets a slower-rock near-straight-up cover with Goode's Harmon mute spreading the word. It's really the only weak link on the recording and only because there's not much stretching out by these fine players.
The leader's highly-creative pen draws a quirky thematic line on "Halo on a Stick" with bassist Sill and drummer Lee shuffling then laying down a swinging groove under Farrugia's fine-soloing. The up-tempo "Goose Chase" closes the session with the rhythm chasing Goode as he gooses the melody's highs and lows. It's a neat, swinging close to the session and delivers Goode's best and most fiery solo on this overall terrific date.
Montezuma is an intelligent and involving recording by a terrific, innovative trumpeter and his supremely talented crew. Not only would Red Rodney probably enjoy it, but, the Aztec emperor himself might forgo his vengeful ways, put his arrows and spears down and dig it, too.