Brian Woodruff: The Tarrier (2009)
Music is often best when culled from a variety of sources. That's the approach drummer Brian Woodruff takes with The Tarrier.
Woodruff has worked the New York City scene since 1995. A student of jazz and commercial music, he has toured the United States, Asia and Europe, and his associations include Harvie S, Gary Versace and Adam Niewood. For this outing, he is joined by Lisa Parrott on alto and soprano saxophone, Jacob Varmus on trumpet and cornet, Alan Ferber on trombone, Nate Radley on guitar and Matt Clohesy on bass.
The bass does the walking to introduce the title song, subtly helped by Woodruff as the horns bring up the melody. Varmus solos, followed by Ferber, both in a bright, sunny mood. Guitarist Radley, bassist Clohesy and Woodruff are engaging in the background. Parrott also solos on alto sax and, toward the end, Woodruff trades jabs with the horns, bouncing around his entire kit to set up the closing melody.
"Dijon Dance" is a rapid-fire piece that honors drummer Jack DeJohnette. The horns and Radley get things going with an all-in effort; then Varmus solos, followed again by Ferber. Woodruff is sharp on the hi-hat, mixing in some snare and toms here and there. Parrott comes in, but instead of an extended solo, engages in a dialogue with Woodruff.
Woodruff displays more of his adept stick work on "Into the Fire," crisply scoring on the cymbals during Parrott's alto solo. The piece, inspired by Wayne Shorter's "Angola," is another up-tempo selection, with Parrott expressing fluently, making the sax wail at moments before giving way to Varmus. Radley, mostly in a rhythm role or answering calls by the horns, steps out as a soloist here. His contribution has a slight Pat Metheny-esque feel to it.
The Tarrier gets its name from banter between Woodruff and a friend, based on the former's tendency to lose or stalemate chess games by hanging around. The music, however, is aggressive and constantly in motion with all songs written by Woodruff.
Track Listing: The Tarrier; Dijon Dance; Be Still (While I Remove the Wart); Trolley Museum; A Wreath of Cloud; Into the Fire; Chorale; Trafalgar Square.
Personnel: Lisa Parrott: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Jacob Varmus: trumpet, cornet; Alan Ferber: trombone; Nate Radley: guitar; Matt Clohesy: bass; Brian Woodruff: drums.
Record Label: Crows' Kin Records
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde