Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brentwood Jazz Quartet, eclecticism with elegance

As jazz fan, one of my first experiences in sacred jazz was the music of The Brentwood Jazz Quartet. This group was a very interesting reunion of four musicians for one of the most important christian label, Brentwood Records. The group recorded a serie of albums in which it's possible to find christian hymns arranged in jazz style and original compositions.

The members of Brentwood Jazz Quartet are guitarist Mark Baldwin, keyboardist David Huntsinger, bassist Craig Nelson and drummer Bob Mater. On some albums, also play some guest musicians as saxophonist Sam Levine, percussionist Tom Roady and guitarist Jack Jezzro.

Altough we can define the style of this group simply as smooth jazz, its songs have a lot of influences mixed in a very eclectical way: standard jazz, fusion, blues, new age, and even pop and rock. Due to this mix, Brentwood Jazz Quartet in general have won hands down of jazz purists, becoming labeled as "easy listening" music. In my opinion, I agree that this group don't offer compositions with a great virtuosity and creativity, but also I think It's not a bad musical idea, because in some songs it's possible to listen interesting arrangements with nice swing and the most important, elegance.

Brentwood Jazz Quartet has four sacred jazz albums, which are very difficult to find in shops: Love Knows (1991), Secret Signature (1991), One Way (1993) and Living in the Here and Now (1993). Also, Brentwood Records released a compilation album named "The Best of Brentwood Jazz Quartet" in 1999, with a interesting selection of songs.

Websites of members of the group

Mark Baldwin: http://markbaldwinguitar.com
Bob Mater: http://www.myspace.com/bobmater
David Huntsinger: http://www.davidhuntsinger.com