November 2001

Brad Turner Quartet featuring Seamus Blake
Live at the Cellar
Maximum

As a member of Metalwood, trumpeter Brad Turner traffics in an electric jazz-groove style that appeals to both hard-edged-fusion fans and the jam-band crowd. As the leader of his own group, however, Turner turns his ears toward Filles des Kilimanjaro-era Miles Davis, chopping down the funk and backbeats in favor of swinging drums, courtesy of Dylan van der Schyff (who is usually doing avant-garde time behind the NOW Orchestra, Talking Pictures and Peggy Lee Band), bubbling but supportive bass from Andre Lachance, shifting jazz harmonies and the persuasive, permeating sound of Bruno Hubert's Fender Rhodes piano.

Though he's relatively unknown in America, Vancouverite Turner is a multiple winner of the Juno, Canada's version of the Grammy. Live at the Cellar is a well-recorded introduction to Turner's style of lyrical trumpet bop mixed with modern and classic jazz harmonies. Turner's Quartet cuts two older numbers, Thelonious Monk's "Ba-lue Boliver Ba-lues-Are" and Lee Morgan's "Calling Miss Khadija," in addition to five originals, including the gorgeous, slow-waltzing ballad "For Tia" and the kicking "Skiffle," all of which hover around a cool, late-'60s vibe because of Hubert's Rhodes. Tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake gets a large "featuring" credit on the album cover and it's easy to understand why. While Blake plays it close to vest compared to some of his dates as a leader, where he isn't afraid to use electronics to spike his horn's sound, he and Turner are obviously kindred, adventurous spirits who are having a grand time in a relatively mainstream setting.

Originally published in November 2001
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