Small Wonder

Small Wonder

I don’t think Brad Turner’s Quartet has put out a bad album. I’m sure if you asked Brad he would cringe at a few things about his earlier recordings like any musician who listens to their early stuff. There will be absolutely no cringing by anybody now or ever about his latest release on Maximum Jazz, Small Wonder. Anchored by Dylan van der Schyff’s propulsive and creative drumming, Andre Lachance’s ultra creative and sensitive bass lines, Bruno Hubert’s quirky and completely unique piano stylings and of course the leader’s incredibly melodic and complex trumpet playing. Small Wonder is as complete as album as you will hear. Great sound, great playing, great compositions and great design!

On a number of occasions I have heard Brad Turner compositions before and been so taken with them asked him for a lead sheet only to look at realize it will take a miracle for me to actually negotiate the changes. In other words his tunes are a lot harder than they sound. This is a compliment to the seasoned composer. I can often remember the melodies and find myself humming them or parts of them throughout the day after listening to the record but to actually sit down and analyze whats going on and how to play over the changes is a whole other ball game. The four guys seem to interpret all of the tunes with a great amount of ease and comfort. Evidence that this band is very comfortable with one another and so they should be. It’s the quartet’s fifth release and except for the first one Long Story Short

where the late Chris Nelson occupies the bass chair the band has remained virtually the same. Kudos go out to Brad Turner for managing to keep things happening with this band. There isn’t exactly a lot of playing opportunities in the city but somehow BT continues to find the inspiration to write, rehearse and lucky for us, record the band.

Whether its playing drums in Bruno Hubert’s Trio, piano in his own trio, trumpet in Bill Coon’s Double Quartet or trumpet in his own quintet Turner always seems to ‘bring it.’ It is however very clear in talking with Brad and also listening that The Brad Turner Quartet is his number one priority and apple of his eye.

Its hard to pick a highlight on this record. It touches so many aspects of what makes a great jazz record. I love the opening track Scuffle, the openness and freeness of the bass / trumpet intro in 70 Mile

is beautiful and I love the way it goes into the opening groove. Punchy

is exactly as the title sounds and is a bit of a feature for van der Schyff who’s drumming sounds like a complete orchestra. There is absolutely nothing missing in his drumming which is wonderful.

Its nice to see Maximum Jazz living up to its name and actually releasing a few jazz records. This is a must have. You will not be disappointed

Cory Weeds

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