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Brad Goode: Tight Like This

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Trumpeter Brad Goode has restrained his more radical impulses this time out, but his delightful refusal to honor the hallowed barrier between traditionalism and modernism still results in a bracing creative tension.

Sometimes Goode ambushes by stealth. He kicks off Irving Berlin’s “Reaching for the Moon” with a straightforward recitation of the theme. But then, almost before you know what’s happening, he’s stretching the song’s rhythmic structure and unfurling quick-step sidelong flurries-graced by a crisp precision recalling Clifford Brown-that both complement and comment sardonically on Berlin’s thematic conceits. Pianist Adrean Farrugia takes a similar tack, initiating the proceedings with a moody, Bill Evans-like romanticism that gradually morphs into a spiky, two-fisted percussiveness.

Goode’s “Summary,” written in honor of the late Eddie Harris, finds him laying meditative extended lines over breezy, swinging accompaniment, lines that gradually ascend into upward-arcing declarations of freedom; Farrugia’s sharply angular solo accentuates the determinedly unsentimental feel of this tribute to a beloved mentor. Freddie Webster’s “Reverse the Charges” is both propulsive and deceptively delicate, as Goode, Farrugia, bassist Kelly Sill and drummer Anthony Lee interweave their rhythmic patterns with tap-dance intricacy, at times transforming the entire quartet into a rhythm instrument. Remarkably, as the rhythmic currents gain intensity the melodic and harmonic textures of their playing expand and deepen with each passing chorus and solo.

Never sacrificing the sparkling sense of wonder that’s characterized his sound from the beginning, Goode’s music now also reflects maturity and sureness borne of hard-won experience. The result is a set that challenges us to re-envision accepted ideas even as it minds tradition.

Originally Published