Brent Gallaher - Tenor sax
Alex Pope Norris - Trumpet, flugelhorn (tracks 1, 2, 4-8)
Dan Karlsberg - Piano
Aaron Jacobs - Bass
Anthony Lee - Drums
Brent Gallaher's father was a professor of music and Brent himself
is involved in jazz music education at tertiary level. Now 48, he
can play any of tenor, soprano or alto sax, plus flute and
clarinet. In addition, he is an accomplished composer (three of his
works can be found on this disc). Cincinnati-based for many years,
he has had experience of performing with big bands as well as
smaller groups but here opts for the latter in what is his fourth
album as a leader for this label. He has, inevitably, been
influenced by some of the great saxophonists, such as Wayne Shorter
and John Coltrane. He has assembled a group with extensive live
performance credentials and, for the most part, like the leader, a
background of teaching jazz. A further name needs to be added,
however, that of the versatile Kim Pensyl who not only contributes
three compositions to the disc but was responsible for the
recording, mixing and mastering of the music.
Two of the three standout tracks come from Pensyl's hand. Big Sur, that scenic highlight of the California
coastline, is evoked in an attractive melody and given a rhythmic
treatment by the band, with strong solos from Norris and Gallaher
and effective interaction between the rhythm section members.
Karlsberg makes a distinctive contribution, too. Gratitude
, a further piece by Pensyl has a lovely, late night, feel about
it. A wistful yet smoochy saxophone sound is complemented by
Karlsberg's exploration of the theme, somewhat subdued but very
much 'on the money'. I liked the title piece, Moving Forward. The spirit of East Coast jazz permeated
this one. There's a bustling tenor, a confident and stylish trumpet
solo and Karlsberg bringing power and penetration to the work.
Alex Pope Norris plays flugelhorn as well as trumpet on the album.
For examples of the former, listen to the easy-on-the-ear Cycle or No Apparent Reason, although the second
of these, while the longest track on the album, falls short of the
best. Far better to savour Norris on the gently swinging Fred
Hersch composition, Rain Waltz. Serendipidy, the
opening track and a Gallaher original, has a fluency which engages,
enhanced by the intuitive collaboration of the group members.
Karlsberg has a classical as well as jazz background so it's
interesting that his tune, Cesar refers to Cesar Franck,
the nineteenth century composer and organist. The pianist and the
group as a whole come across well on a fitting finale for the
album. He comments that it is 'putting Romanticism into the jazz
Gallaher and his band, on this evidence, not only know how to swing
in a post-bop style but they also handle ballad material well. I
enjoyed this latest CD and I'm sure that I won't be alone in that!