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KIOS Jazz CD Of The Month: JOSHUA BRUNEAU – BRIGHT IDEA – Cellar Live Records

Feb 2, 2015

From the opening beat you're in for an exciting musical ride when you take trumpeter Joshua Bruneau's new release “Bright Idea” out for a spin. This enthusiastic and crackling session features compositions and soloing that lure the listener in and perhaps make one more than a little bit jealous of those fortunate to be in attendance at Smalls Jazz Club in New York City when this live session was recorded.

Joshua Bruneau is a Hartt School of Music/University of Hartford, CT graduate and studied with legendary alto saxophonist Jackie McLean. He's toured with one of the great trombonists, Curtis Fuller, and the album's opening track “Fuller's Blues” is an up-tempo Bruneau original. The leader's solo rapidly affords opportunity to appreciate his command of the trumpet with a smooth sound, interesting ideas and inclination to cook. Band mates are stellar, starting with featured musician, the wonderful trombonist Steve Davis who is as dependable as spring following the winter – always aware of where the groove is and ready to add his mellifluous enhancements. Ken Fowser plays tenor saxophone with a warm, mid-range voice (he's recorded some excellent albums with vibist Behn Gillece).

The septet's three horns are augmented by guitar work by Andrew Renfroe, Taber Gable playing piano, Matt Dwonszyck at the bass and Jason Tiemann at the drums. Renfroe shares the spotlight with Bruneau on the attractive rendition of “You Don't Know What Love Is” and Gable is featured to good advantage on the Freddie Hubbard number “Theme For Kareem” and McCoy Tyner's “For Tomorrow”. They both have plenty of solo opportunities on other numbers as well. Bassist Matt Dwonszyck and drummer Jason Tiemann are right on-the-money with the beat.

One can find a lot to enjoy on this album: Bruneau's bluesy, lyrical tone – somewhere between Blue Mitchell and Donald Byrd; the way drummer Tiemann nudges proceedings on Bruneau's catchy original “The Owl Shop”; the Latin-soul rhythm of bassist Leroy Vinegar's “Hard To Find” that features Dwonszyck with a “walking” bass solo, and the swinging title track, another Bruneau original. Yes indeed, there's a lot to like on Joshua Bruneau's new release and spending quality listening time with this album is assuredly a bright idea.

Personnel: Joshua Bruneau – trumpet; Steve Davis – trombone; Ken Fowser – tenor sax; Andrew Renfroe – guitar; Taber Gable – piano; Matt Dwonszyck – acoustic bass; Jason Tiemann – drums

Tracks: Fuller’s Blues; The Owl Shop; Hard To Find; Bright Idea; You Don’t Know What Love Is; Theme For Kareem; For Tomorrow