A quartet split between American and Belgian musicians, it's strangely logical that trumpeter Chad McCullough and pianist Bram Weijters first met in Banff, Canada about a decade ago. It's been a long-distance relationship made in heaven ever since.
Both co-leaders say the collaborations have many side benefits beyond their music. They're able to coordinate tours of the US and Europe with an adopted home base, and they can market their music from two locations as well.
Musically, the McCullough/Weijters quartet is a tasty blend where classical melodies meet bluesy tradition and post-bop complexity. Each man composes for the band, and in our Seattle studios we heard wonderful examples of both.
McCullough's "Nightingale" started their session. A touch of melancholy marks this beautiful song, featuring wonderful solo improvisations and driven to dramatic heights by the propulsive rhythm section of Belgian bassist Piet Verbist and Seattle's John Bishop on drums.
The foursome followed with a pair of Weijter's originals, "Glorious Traffic Jam" and "Acceptance or Denial", both from their most recent quartet album Abstract Quantities. Both are bright, sunny songs with room to move.
McCullough and Weijters more recent musical meetings have been more intimate affairs. Duet albums Feather and the brand new Pendulum allow Weijters to work in some electronic instruments, and offer more unique song writing styles. The new album is a clock-themed suite in 25 parts!
Whether duo or quartet, it's a treat to see and hear the musical magic that happens when two talented cats from opposite sides of the planet get together to share their passion for jazz. Many miles separate these two, but it's clear they can't keep Chad and Bram apart.