Chad McCullough

Dark Wood, Dark Water

origin 82535

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

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Like many artists who lead dates on Origin, Chad McCullough makes his recording debut for the label, joined by veterans like saxophonists Mark Taylor and Geof Bradfield, pianist Bill Anschell (whose career has flourished since relocating to the Pacific Northwest), bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer John Bishop. McCullough's rich re-harmonized treatment of the Beatles' "Blackbird" barely touches on the melody before it progresses well beyond its familiar melody, showcasing a pair of flighty soprano sax solos (presumably one by each reed player, though it isn't mentioned in the liner notes) and the leader's spirited flügelhorn. Anschell contributed the gorgeous "Dreamscape," an impressionist piece reminiscent of some of the compositions of trumpeter Tom Harrell. The balance of the songs were penned by the leader, including the powerful "Three Pillars," which is built upon just three phrases of music, along with the eerie "Bock's Car" and the driving post-bop miniature "Anatomy of Conscience," which has a infectious samba undercurrent. Recommended.






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