Jazz pianist Craig Brenner of Bloomington, Indiana, has been out and in of New Orleans a lot over the previous 5 a long time, he could as effectively be an adopted son. He first caught the Crescent Metropolis bug by seeing Professor Longhair at Jazz Fest, which in the end led to Brenner befriending Fess’ percussionist Uganda Roberts. He usually employed Roberts for gigs when he was round, together with an Previous U.S. Mint live performance, which netted Brenner his Reside on the Previous Mint launch in 2014.
Since Previous Mint was an amalgam of covers and originals, Brenner vowed to do solely his compositions subsequent time with just a few household music professionals, most notably son Nate (bass, synth) and daughter-in-law, vocalist Merrill Garbus of the nationally recognized art-pop duo tUnE- yArDs. Brenner’s Crawdads bandmates and numerous mates spherical out the studio expertise.
Whether or not it’s the light prance of “Life is Valuable” or the sensuous stroll of “Some Attractive Blues For Ya Proper Right here, Y’all,” Brenner slays all of it in blues, jazz, and boogie-woogie with a glowing, wealthy method.
“Spring is Close to” is epic sufficient to really feel like a up to date jazz traditional, a la Chet Baker, with Kyle Quass’ trumpet enjoying and Garbus’ pleasant vocals. However actually, the lyrics and glowing melody are merely a car for Brenner’s array of types, similar to a stride piano part adopted by a boogie-woogie across the four-minute mark.
The comparably inventive “Paradiddle Boogie” relies on the paradiddle drum rudiment, open stroke Left-Proper-Left-Left-Proper-Left-Proper-Proper that Brenner emulates rhythmically in a pulsating vogue. Earlier than lengthy, he launches right into a hovering boogie-woogie earlier than repeating the cycle a pair extra instances.
Apparently, “For My Brother” is the one monitor of the eight that doesn’t showcase Brenner on the 88s. As an alternative, he’s solely the composer, delegating to a classical string quartet for a serene and reverent interpretation.
Because the disc’s title alludes to, conceptually many songs relate to the thought of transition, passing from one state to a different, whether or not it’s musically, seasonally, or in life. From a listening standpoint, Passages is an gratifying transition, even when it’s unpredictable.