JazzTimes (p.79) - "Seattle-based trumpeter-composer Chad McCullough offers some fresh, thoughtful originals on his fine debut, along with a radically de-harmonized balladic arrangement of the Beatles' 'Blackbird.'"
Personnel: Chad McCullough (trumpet, flugelhorn); Geof Bradfield (sopranino saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Mark Taylor (sopranino saxophone, alto saxophone); Bill Anschell (piano); Jeff Johnson (bass instrument); John Bishop (drum).
Recording information: The Office, Seattle, WA (11/24/2008-11/25/2008); Two Sticks Audio, Seattle, WA (11/24/2008-11/25/2008).
Photographer: Steve Korn.
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. ~ Ken Dryden