Review by Brad Walseth
The moody song "Nature Boy" never seems to lose its popularity, with several new versions popping up recently. Trumpeter Brad Goode's new release on Delmark is titled after this unique and haunting composition, a sprightly version of which opens the album. With drummer Todd Reid and bassist Todd Reid, and pianist Jeff Jenkins providing an undulating rhythm bed, Goode floats airily overhead, exploring a number of engrossing variations on the darkly melodic theme. Goode is a player with consummate chops and a full tone, even when playing with a mute (as on the exciting take on the Schertzinger/Mercer tune "I Remember You"), and he has a worthy counterpart in pianist Jenkins whose lyrical playing is romantic without being maudlin.
Although much of this record is fairly straight-ahead and melodic, the original "Night of the Mechanical World" pushes the envelope into some exotic directions sonically. The same cannot be said about the smooth take on the early '60s pop hit "Sealed With a Kiss." It probably sounded like a good idea to have Goode's muted trumpet take on this melody, but while not exactly a misstep - it could be a big hit for him, and despite some stellar work from pianist Jenkins, the piece just sounds a bit too cutesy for my taste.
Covers of songs by composers Cole Porter, Eddie Harris, Comden/Green/Styne, Ballard/Henderson/Waring, Osvaldo Farres and three other originals round out the recording. This selection makes for a pleasant listening experience as the songs move from atmospheric melodies ("Tes Palabras (Without You)," "Celedon" ) to bouncy standards ("Just in Time") that showcase the bands strengths and especially Goode's fluid and enjoyable playing. The sparkling version of Eddie Harris' "Infrapolations" injects some ultra high energy into the proceedings and the band leaves with some high-stepping on "No Idea" and "All Through the Night.' While there isn't an attempt here to really break a lot of new ground, the recording is solid and worthy of checking out for fans of well-played straight-ahead trumpet jazz.