Brian Landrus


I’m a sucker for Thelonious Monk tunes, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to appreciate Brian Landrus’ stately baritone sax version of “Ask Me Now,” the first track on his debut CD on which this talented player wrote and arranged the remaining eight numbers. A native of Reno, he moved to Boston some 10 years ago, graduating from the New England Conservatory, which is where he met his sidemen: George Garzone (tenor sax), Allan Chase (alto sax), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Michael Cain (piano), John Lockwood (bass), and two percussionists. Landrus has written some very pretty tunes (i.e., “The Stream,” a Latin-flavored item and “To Love and Grow,” on which he plays flute). The title track is particularly attractive with solos by all and Landrus on the rarely heard bass clarinet. The percussionists come into their own on “The Stream” and “Classification,” a jungle-sounding number. “Destination,” which was “improvised by the ensemble,” develops into what the Texas psychedelic band The Red Krayola called a “free-form freak-out.” Pianist Cain is remarkable throughout but Garzone and Chase spend too much time noodling around for my money. “Interpretations” is a solo feature for Landrus’ baritone sax—too short but sweet.