Chad McCullough

Dark Wood, Dark Water

origin 82535

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Kyle O'Brien, Oregon Jazz Scene

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Seattle has produced some really good trumpet talent, and McCullough joins the ranks with his debut release. Aside from being a talented player, McCullough is a composer of some weight. His "Three Pillars" is a journey jazz piece, venturing into an interesting chordal world that gives soloists -- such as himself, bassist Jeff Johnson and alto saxophonist Mark Taylor -- a chance to stretch out and explore the space. His arrangement of "Blackbird," by Lennon and McCartney, takes the simple melody to a new dimension. It's still a pretty tune, but his alternate chords, and the longing nature of the melody and the soprano sax solo, makes it a jazz piece through and through. McCullough's compositions aren't easy listening. He is ambitious, sometimes maybe too much, but it's this sense of challenge that makes it interesting. His attacking swing on "Nightmare's Dance" sounds difficult, which may not be a great thing, but it's appreciated. Having some simplicity, as on the light jazz waltz "Home," is welcome. McCullough is definitely a talent to watch, and with some refinement he could climb even higher.






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