As heard in its second set Saturday night, the Tucker Brothers made clear that an expanded sound palette — keyed to Joel's guitar — is a vital ingredient in this musical growth. The disc's title track amounted to a climax of the set. It lives up to its binary suggestion in stating a reflective theme at first; with the launch of a blazing guitar solo it moved onto a plateau of intensity. The tension was resolved by a sort of anthemic ensemble at the end.
|The band is Sean Imboden, Nick Tucker, Joel Tucker, and Brian Yarde.|
The set's one standard, Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark," followed immediately. I haven't quite resolved what the onset of this piece was working to establish. I first caught the melody from Sean Imboden's tenor sax coming in at the bridge. The bulk of the performance united the ensemble in a calypso arrangement that was quite fetching.
A pair of contrasts was fused at the start with "Warm Heart," awash in atmosphere, following by "Sundancing," which opened up into cogent solos by the guitarist, Imboden, and bassist Nick Tucker. The band was clearly primed for some vigorous hiking as it launched into Nick's composition "Lifely." There was a good deal of stretching out after some bluesy musings coalesced to acquire irresistible forward momentum. Joel's solo was quite assertive, flashy but cunningly crafted. Then the brothers' two-note repetitive figure punctuated Imboden's limber solo.
After the ballad "Paisley," the band took up another original, though one not on the just released recording: "Rhythm Changed." It deserves a place somewhere in the quartet's discography to come. This piece is a lively derivative of the bebop style, with fast-moving unisons in the theme and a lot of tricky phrasing. The band seemed to be up to the close-order drill. Such a romp readily welcomed the exchanges with drummer Brian Yarde that ensued. This episode yielded to a drum solo that avoided the obvious yet honored the idiomatic drive of the composition.
The Tucker Brothers is much more than the sum of its "Two Parts."