By John Ephland | Published September 2017
Ambitious in scope and vision, baritone saxophonist/composer Brian Landrus has bet the ranch with Generations. In his own words, this first-time orchestral adventure “is a culmination of everything I’ve listened to and loved over the years.” For Landrus, that means Bach to J Dilla, along with inspirations Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and many others.
The players include flutist Jamie Baum, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, vibraphonist Joe Locke and drummer Billy Hart. Produced by Landrus’ mentor Robert Livingston Aldridge and Frank Carlberg, the album refers to generations of not only composers and genres but family as well.
Conducted by JC Sanford, the music is generally bright, with a bounce to even some of the more measured pieces such as “Warriors.” In fact, while the five-piece “Jeru Concerto” is a strong opening statement, full of energetic brass and Landrus’ hearty baritone, it’s the slower pieces where the music really breathes, allowing for other dimensions and sounds, not to mention a variety of tonal colors.
Reflecting Landrus’ love of all things musical, and considering the fact that he’s now a veteran of some of the top jazz orchestras in the world, Generations is, no doubt, just the beginning for a player-composer who is well versed in the genre and right at home painting on a big canvas.
Generations: Jeru Concerto, Mvt. 1; Jeru Concerto, Interlude; Jeru Concerto, Mvt. 2; Jeru Concerto, Mtv. 3; Jeru Concerto, Mtv 4; Orchids; The Warrior; Arrow In The Night; Arise; Human Nature; Ruby; Every Time I Dream. (59:47)
Personnel: Brian Landrus, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Jamie Baum, flute, alto flute; Tom Christensen, oboe, flute; Darryl Harper, clarinet; Michael Rabinowitz, bassoon; Alden Banta, contrabassoon; Debbie Schmidt, horn; Ralph Alessi, Igmar Thomas, trumpet; Alan Ferber, trombone; Marcus Rojas, tuba; Brandee Younger, harp; Joe Locke, vibraphone; Billy Hart, Justin Brown, drums; Mark Feldman, Sara Caswell, Joyce Hammann, Meg Okura, violin; Lois Martin, Nora Krohn, viola; Jody Redhage, Maria Jeffers, cello; Jay Anderson, Lonnie Plaxico, bass.