Adding to his growing body of work for Seattle's Origin Records, trumpeter Chad McCullough teams up with Belgian pianist Bram Weijters for Imaginary Sketches
, a compelling set of original compositions, full of lyricism and harmonic delight. Along with bassist Chuck Deardorf and drummer John Bishop, the works as a showcase for thoughtful improvising and subtle, yet convincing compositional ideas.
McCullough and Weijters are a fitting pair as both build upon a strong technical foundation to develop finely phrased lines, shifting shape to accommodate the session's varied moods. A slow, at times brooding pace permeates much of the proceedings, creating a wide expanse of solo space for trumpet, piano, and bass?Deadorf is prominently featured throughout. Weijters' "Burning Question," "Another Dark Ballad" and "Restless," as well as McCullough's "Imaginary Folk Song" and "Late Night, Long Drive" are all examples of the disc's contemplative nature.
Standing in stark contrast is the overt funk of "Free as Poetry" and burning swing of "Speeding," featuring some of the disc's most exemplary blowing, including that of Bishop who lets loose over an ostinato vamp on the tune's tail end. Imaginary Sketches
is one of those hard-to-categorize works; perhaps best described as intriguing. The vitality put forth by McCullough and Weijters makes this disc worthy of multiple listens.