Brian Landrus Trio Album, 'The Deep Below,' Blueland/Palmetto Records [REVIEW]
Swing low, sweet sax man! Emitting a deeeeep guttural sound as if from the esophagus of a bullfrog, Brian Landrus, with his pianoless trio of bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Billy Hart, goes for that lowball swoon on The Deep Below on Blueland/Palmetto Records. The low wind ace has mastered baritone sax, bass clarinet, bass sax and bass flute, putting him right smack dab on the ground floor of sound. His sixth CD as a leader is also the debut of his trio.
His horns sound human, eliciting a range of expression from passion and melancholy to anger and joyous enthusiasm. From the mouthpiece of Landrus, that age-old Sinatra ballad, "I'm A Fool To Want You," doesn't even need lyrics to get its lonely point across to the listener. Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" and Coltrane's "Giant Steps" sound new again in his hands. Self-produced, the notes are timed just so, aimed at your head...and heart. Hardly background music, this reporter had to stop and marvel at these irresistible low tones on display. You feel them in your gut. I could just imagine him honking in his room practicing and driving his folks nuts when he was at home.
Landrus is in Esperanza Spalding's band so he's crisscrossed the globe a few times as they perform in a wide variety of locales. He's also in the Gil Evans Project based out of New York. Currently working on a PhD in classical composition at Rutgers, Landrus is also in the process of completing two concertos. One wonders if he even has time to sleep. To top it all off, at six feet and seven inches tall, he could play forward or guard in the NBA. Thankfully for our ears, basketball's loss is the jazz world's gain.