Saturday, February 1, 2014

Terrence Brewer Setting The Standard Volume One SBM 2011

Terrence Brewer's warm fluid tone and sophisticated harmonics elevate the more traditional standard to a lyrical flow for today's modern jazz.
Brent Black /

I sometimes find standards annoying...This past year I reviewed  37 releases and each included the same Cole Porter tune. It was done right perhaps 6 times. The 2011 release from Terrence Brewer does exactly as the title states, it sets a new standard. The tunes here are not the usual suspects but familiar none the less. Gems such as "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "My One and Only Love" work well alongside the Michel Legrand favorite "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life" and the Duke Ellington classic "Caravan."

What works? What doesn't work? Terrence unlocks the key to a more than memorable standards release with his natural sophistication in technique coupled with a deliciously subtle soulful interpretation that does not interpret a melody, the melody is embraced. The musical co-conspirators have worked with Brewer before and the lyrical conversations taking place are simply proof positive that chemistry is vitally important on a release of this nature. Melodies are artfully tweaked, not mangled. Compositions are deep catalog and executions is stellar.

As a critic, I rarely get excited over releases built around the Great American Songbook. Normally we find the end result in a release of standards as a self-indulgent riff on someone else's work when your creative well has run dry. Terrence Brewer pulls from the soul and the end result is an imaginative yet contemporary interpretation on some of the most beautiful melodies of our time.

Contemporaries be on notice, this is how you do it.

Tracks: What Is This Thing Called Love;  I Could Write A Book; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life; Midnight Mood; You Don't Know What Love Is; The Days of Wine and Roses; My One and Only Love; Caravan.

Personnel: Terrence Brewer: Guitar; Kasey Knudsen: Saxophone; Kelly Park: Piano; Brandon Essex; Bass; Micah McClain: Drums.