Brad Whiteley Trio – Pathless Land
Keyboardist Brad Whiteley has cultivated a reputation in New York and abroad as a coveted and highly versatile sideman. Now, he moves to the musical forefront as bandleader and composer on his debut album, Pathless Land.
The recording finds Whiteley alternating between his two preferred instruments, piano and Hammond organ. His interest in keyboard music spans from Bach to Jimmy Smith, and his long view of music is heard throughout the course of Pathless Land.
Whiteley has developed a keen sense of the jazz organ vocabulary, honed over the course of a year-long residency of late night organ sessions at the renowned Upper West Side club, Smoke, and his studies with B3 brethren Mike LeDonne and Sam Yahel. Whiteley’s grasp on this particular language is evident on the opening shuffle, “Winsome Excursion,” and his tribute to classic soul music, “Nostalgiastic.”
Whiteley’s piano work has both an emotional resonance and rhythmic clarity, owing to his studies with a variety of mentors including Fred Hersch, Jason Moran and master classical pianist Edward Auer, the influences of which can be heard in the performance and long-form composition of “Suite: Contemplation” and “Suite: Resolve.”
A hallmark of Whiteley’s own tunes is their strong link to song form. “I’ve worked with so many singers,” Whiteley says, “and I really appreciate the power of a song. My favorite songwriters walk a fine line between accessibility and sophistication, a balance I strive for in my own writing. His strength as a melodist can be heard in the engaging themes of the title track and “Erika’s Song.”
“The album covers a variety of moods and textures,” Whiteley notes, “and this comes as a reflection of my years in New York City.”
Pathless Land features Kenneth Salter on drums, Andrew Lim on guitar (organ trio), and Daniel Foose on bass (piano trio), with special guest Erika Lloyd. The album will be released by Destiny Records on March 25, 2014.
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