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Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope — Mirage (2013)

 Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope — Mirage (Jun 25, 2013)

         Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope — Mirage
Composer Brian Landrus, Master of Low Reeds, Creates Chamber Jazz Masterpiece with Mirage, a Shimmering Album with his Quintet Kaleidoscope and String Quartet.
Brian Landrus is the rare musician who can craft appealing music that’s also challenging and original, and do it so consistently. He doesn’t repeat himself from album to album and yet, the creative roll continues on Mirage.
Born: September 14, 1978, Reno, Nevada, USA
Occupations: Musician, Composer, Arranger, Producer, Educator
Notable instruments: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, bass saxophone, bass flute
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: June 25, 2013
Recording date: August 16, 2012 - August 17, 2012
Record Label: Blue Land Records
Duration:     59:18
01 Arrival     5:22
02 Sammy     5:24
03 Don't Close Your Eyes     5:45
04 A New Day     1:44
05 The Thousands     5:45
06 Someday     5:08
07 Reach     1:37
08 Mirage     7:59
09 I've Been Told     5:51
10 Three Words     5:27
11 Jade     6:13
12 Kismet     3:03
2013 BlueLand Records
•>  Selmer SBA Low Bb Baritone w/ 
  Custom Rubber Lebayle AT 10
•>  Selmer Mark VI Low Bb Bari 58XXX
•>  Selmer SBA Low A Baritone
•>  Selmer SBA Tenor w/
  Lebayle Rubber LR III 9
•>  Selmer SBA Alto w/
  Otto Link Slant Sig 9 mouthpiece
•>  Selmer SBA Soprano w/
  custom Fred Lebayle rubber Jazz 9* mouthpiece
•>  Selmer Series II Bass Saxophone w/
  Lebayle Rubber AT 9* bass piece
•>  Selmer Series 9 Low Eb Bass w/
  Charles Bay mouthpiece
•>  Selmer Series 9 Low C Bass w/
  Charles Bay mouthpiece
•>  Selmer Series 9 Contra Alto w/
  custom Fobes mouthpiece
•>  Buffet R13 Bb from 1970 w/
  Backun Traditional mouthpiece
•>  Eva Kingma Bass Flute
•>  Sankyo 301 Alto Flute w/
  Custom Arista Lip Plate
•>  Powell Handmade C Flute w/
  Arista Headjoint
•>  Sankyo 401 Piccolo
Live Performance Microphones:
•>  AMT LS © Taken in Brooklyn, NY / Photo credit: Vince Segalla / Canon EOS 5D Mark II / December 13, 2012 (12:44)
Personnel: Brian Landrus: baritone and bass saxophones, bass and contra-alto clarinets, bass flute
Rudy Royston: drums
Nir Felder: guitar
Frank Carlberg: piano, Rhodes
Lonnie Plaxico: electric and acoustic bass
Mark Feldman: violin
Joyce Hammann: violin
Judith Insell: viola
Jody Redhage: cello
Ryan Truesdell: conductor
Chris Allen  Engineer
Frank Carlberg  Fender Rhodes, Piano
Nir Felder  Guitar
Mark Feldman  Violin
Andrew Gilbert  Liner Notes
Joyce Hammann  Violin
Dan Hemerlein  Assistant
Judith Insell  Viola
Aleks Karjaka  Photography
John Kilgore  Mixing
Brian Landrus  Arr., Clarinets: Bass+Contra-Alto, Flute (Bass), Producer, Saxes: Baritone+Bass
Eileen Landruss  Paintings
Fred Lebayle  Photography
Owen Mulholland  Assistant Engineer
Lonnie Plaxico  Bass (Acoustic), Bass (Electric)
Jody Redhage  Cello
Rudy Royston  Drums
Chris Sieracki  Design
Alan Silverman  Mastering
Ryan Truesdell  Conductor, Producer
Ted Tuthill  Assistant Engineer
By DAVE WAYNE, Published: September 17, 2013
Thus far, every recording by low-end multi-reed artist Brian Landrus has been refreshingly different. The NEC grad burst on to the scene a few years back with Forward* (2008) a richly textured free-leaning acoustic jazz album created with a large ensemble of seasoned jazz veterans such as pianist Michael Cain and drummer Bob Moses. His subsequent release, Everlasting (2009), a quartet date with Moses and bassist John Lockwood also had free-bop tendencies.
Traverse* (2010), featured a different quartet with Cain, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, and drummer Billy Hart and emphasized Landrus’ work on the modern mainstream side of the coin. Perhaps the biggest curveball was Capsule* (2011), where Landrus led a plugged-in and very funky quintet. Given his early background playing for various Motown artists, and his recent work with Esperanza Spalding, Landrus’ soft spot for electric jazz is perhaps not such an odd thing. Yet, with Mirage*, Landrus shows that he’s not through surprising us.
Leading a revamped version of his electric quintet, Landrus has added a string quartet to the mix. While it doesn’t hurt that the always- scintillating Mark Feldman is amongst the denizens of Landrus’ string department, Landrus and conductor Ryan Truesdell consistently manage to bring out the best in both groups; creating interesting harmonic tensions and hooky contrapuntal movement without getting too intellectual.
Though many associate strings in jazz either with the self-consciously avant-garde Third Stream movement of the late 1950s, or with heavy- handed producers looking for an audio “sweetener” to beef up the sound for greater commercial appeal, there have been quite a few noteworthy — even great — jazz albums that featured string ensembles. Aside from the obvious choice — Bird With Strings (Mercury Records, 1950) — several examples leap to mind: Arthur Blythe’s Basic Blythe (Columbia, 1987) is at the top of the heap, along with McCoy Tyner’s Fly With The Wind (Milestone, 1976), Steve Kuhn’s self-titled album from the early 1970s (Buddha, 1971), and Swiss bassist Stephan Kurmann’s ravishingly beautiful album Strings (TCB Records, 1988).
Mirage has much the same flavor, though it’s coming from a completely different direction. Ostensibly a fusion album, along the same lines as Landrus’ previous release Capsule, Mirage represents the next logical leap in the young saxophonist’s burgeoning musical career. While Landrus’ knack for distinctive-yet-simple melodies remains intact, the tunes on Mirage aren’t simply blowing vehicles for the leader and his formidable band. Here, the strings are almost equal partners, bringing a sleek intelligence and an element of lyricism to Landrus’ music; emphasizing aspects of his compositions that would normally be lost in a typical small group setting. At their most imaginative, as on “Sammy,” the string arrangements lift the music up to another level, adding layers of drama and darkness.
Another thing that works here are the contrasting textures wrought by the very proper and formal-sounding strings against the seat-of-the- pants syncopations of the unabashedly funky rhythm section. Drummer Rudy Royston’s performance is white hot with joy and gleeful energy, while Plaxico’s bass hews towards understatement, creating a truly remarkable rhythmic tension that persists throughout the album’s twelve diverse pieces. “I’ve Been Told” explores the intersection of reggae and funk, while the gospel-infused “Don’t Close Your Eyes” swims slowly on a strong undercurrent of the blues. “Three Words” also dabbles in the blues, although a distinct R&B feel emerges during the tune’s sunny bridge.
Naturally, improvisational sparks aplenty fly on up-tempo pieces such as “Arrival” and “The Thousands,” the latter featuring Plaxico’s exceptional bass solo. Landrus is a patient, non-licks-playing soloist with a lush sound on a dizzying array of low reeds who is palpably attuned to what’s going on around him. The album-closing “Kismet” is as profound a piece of unaccompanied solo saxophone as any I’ve heard in the past few years.
Pianist Frank Carlberg and guitarist Nir Felder are both cut from the same cloth. I’ve raved repeatedly about Carlberg’s playing in the past, and his efforts here are no less notable, whether he’s playing the Rhodes or the acoustic piano. Felder is, in a way, the album’s featured soloist—he gets the spotlight on nearly every track. He’s got a quick-witted, mercurial musical personality and is one of those rare musicians who’s forged a readily identifiable sound at a relatively young age.
On paper, the combination of jazz virtuosos playing funky fusion backed by a string section might not seem all that appealing. Think again. Mirage definitively proves otherwise.
Website: http://brianlandrus.com/
Label: www.bluelandrecords.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrianLandrus
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-Landrus-
CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/brianlandruskaleidoscope
BY S. VICTOR AARON, June 22, 2013
:: http://somethingelsereviews.com/2013/06/22/brian-landrus-kaleidoscope-mirage-2013/
As Leader:
•>  Forward Cadence Jazz Records 2008
•>  Everlasting CIMP 2009
•>  Traverse by the Brian Landrus Quartet BlueLand Records 2010
•>  Capsule by the Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope BlueLand Records 2011
•>  Mirage by the Brian Landus Kaleidoscope & String Quartet BlueLand Records 2013
As Sideman (selected):
•>  Gil Evans Centennial Project ArtistShare Nominated for Three 2013 Grammy Awards
•>  Nicholas Urie "My Garden" on Red Piano Records
•>  Nicholas Urie Large Ensemble on Red Piano Records
•>  Darryl Harper "Stories In Real Time"
•>  Rob Mosher's Storytime
•>  Ayn Inserto Large Ensemble
•>  Omar Thomas Big Band "I Am"
•>  John Vanore & Abstract Truth "Culture"
•>  Adam Bartczack Republic "Grass Is Greener" Co-producer
•>  In 2013 Emusic wrote "The Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope, Mirage: Outstanding new album by multi-reedist Landrus, who plays bari sax, bass clarinet, bass flute, contra alto clarinet, and bass saxophone for this session. Orchestrated, but with a deft restraint that imbues the music with a quiet chamber jazz sound at times. Music that inspires with an epic nature. Melodies crafted with the precision and beauty of stained glass. •>  Harmonies that invite the listener to just sink into them. One of those albums that, once listened to, gives the sense of having travelled very far distances from your seat by the stereo. Pick of the Week." — Dave Sumner, Emusic.
•>  The Huffington Post chose Landrus' recent recording "Mirage", as one of the top jazz recordings of 2013. Music critic Steve Greenlee wrote in the Boston Globe "Brian Landrus — who plays baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, and bass flute on “Capsule’’ (BlueLand Records) — creates a very special kind of music with his band The Landrus Kaleidoscope. It is modern and contemporary — indeed, pop oriented — but it doesn’t give in to the artificial-sweetener trappings of smooth jazz. No, this quintet, which includes pianist Michael Cain (mostly on Fender Rhodes), guitar Nir Felder, bassist Matthew Parish, and drummer Rudy Royston, makes an organic fusion that ignores the boundaries that supposedly separate jazz, rock, pop, and R&B." Hrayr Attarian from All About Jazz says "Landrus pushes the boundaries of jazz and explores a more fusion-like style inspired by Motown and other related genres."  Bill Milkowski of JazzTimes has written "Baritone sax and bass clarinet ace Brian Landrus takes a refreshing, modernist approach to the jazz quintet."  Landrus has honed his sound by using Fred Lebayle Mouthpieces, Rico Reeds, & Henri Selmer Paris Saxophones.
* Forward: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=36122#.UsKBxIUiztM
* Traverse: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=39003#.UsKCCoUiztM
* Capsule: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=40810#.UsKCL4UiztM
* Mirage: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=45328#.UsKADIUiztM

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