Jcq-Jim Cutler Quartet
JCQ is not only the debut album for the quartet, but is Jim's first project as a leader. The group, which has been together since August 2000, recorded the album at Triad Studios in Redmond, Washington on January 26th & 27th, 2002. The CD features eight original compositions; seven written by Jim, and one written by Philip Demaree, the group's bass player. Three standards add to the mix of style and feel offered on the recording. For their debut album, the group wanted to preserve as much of the energy and freedom of their live performances as possible. The album starts with The Emperor, a hard driving, up tempo original by Jim. This piece introduces the listener to the style of the group, and sets the tone of the album; find a groove and build on it. Awakenings is a driving samba which showcases Chris Monroe's Latin percussion skills. Following Awakenings, the standard Just Friends offers a chance to sit back and enjoy some straight ahead jazz stylings. The feel changes quite a bit with Prasek's Lament; this soulful ballad explores several different moods, highlighted by Brian Olendorf's expressive piano solo. The ballad gives way to Keep Off the Grass, a Latin/fusion mix, which features Phil on the fretless electric bass guitar and gives each member of the group a chance to stretch out. Another of Jim's originals, Picking Things Up, gets things back to straight ahead jazz, swinging from start to finish. Lee Morgan's Ceora, a relaxing bossa nova backs the pace off a bit, and Clifford Brown's Joy Spring gets a unique treatment. The up tempo Autumn Mist takes the groove back to a jazz samba, with flurrying displays from each of the soloists. Waiting, an original by Phil, offers another refreshing break from the driving nature of the album, and gives Jim a chance to break out his soprano sax. The album is concluded with Throw Me a Bone, a frenetic minor blues that takes the album home.