Roots Music Report reviews Brian Woodruff Sextet’s, A Centering Peace

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Brian Woodruff Sextet

Album Review of

A Centering Peace

Written by Joe Ross
June 22, 2021 – 6:14pm EDT

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Drummer Brian Woodruff‘s third album as a leader, A Centering Peace features nine original compositions arranged for his sextet that also includes Michael Rodriguez (trumpet), Lisa Parrott (alto and soprano sax), Alan Ferber (trombone), Pete McCann (guitar) and Matt Clohesy (bass).  Woodruff also penned some lyrics for guest vocalist Elisabeth Lohninger to sing on “The Welcome Song,” “A Centering Peace” and “King Size Blues.” The title cut was written to celebrate the 75th birthday of Woodruff’s lifelong friend and spiritual advisor, Monsignor Edward Straub. Blending with the band’s instruments, Lohninger sings of “goodness and truth” that “heals you, guides you, and calls you to love.” A Centering Peace invites you to “share its truth, share its joy, and follow its beacon towards our future of oneness in love and God.”

Brian Woodruff’s music reflects what’s in his heart, and a piece like “What Happened” allows the sextet to make an expressive statement rather than pose an unanswered question. With an idea that’s clear and concise, “Pirouette en Dedans” is a showpiece for trumpeter Rodriquez’s individuality. “War Paint,” “Every Detail Minding” and “Freeway Doctor East” are somewhat more beguiling as they create elasticity for musical mood changes. One thing’s quite apparent in “Undertow” … the sextet has good chemistry and displays teamwork as they maneuver through the arranger’s musical signposts. Closing with “King Size Blues,” the ensemble recalls Ellington and Basie but with a few twists and some tongue-in-cheek lyrics and scat vocalizing to close the album with a solid groove.

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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