For Us, the Living is straight-ahead jazz and a CD whose title is taken from Lincoln's Gettysburg address, a phrase calling for those who survived the Civil War to carry on the work started by the conflict: doing the right thing, pulling purpose and deed forward, never giving up. That's what baritone saxist/flautist Andrew Hadro, in his own work and in the efforts of the composers whose songs form the collection here (modern scribes to a one), has chosen to enshrine. For Us isn't be-bop, fusion, or 'adult contemporary' music, it's serious and 100% driven by what established the jazz form.
The title song has an interesting sax intro line sounding very echoic of Pharoah Sanders' The Creator has a Master Plan before breaking off into a side current, pianist Carmen Staaf maintaining variations of the opening shot as Hadro summons up a burbling concoction not unlike Leon Thomas' vocals in the classic old tune. 'Somber' is perhaps the best descriptive of Hadro's oft laconic play, a guy who ain't messing around, eyebrows furrowed as he plans his next move. Drummer Matt Wilson often cleaves to a martial beat (hear esp. Hurricane Sandy) in conformity to the wont, making Staaf's frequently sparkling work the quencher, sunlight playing on Hadro's ebon recesses, meeting the day half way.
She, though, is dead set on the mission as well and flies through a number of arresting solos here, spare pensées there, and offsetting chords elsewhere. Daniel Fosse is the quietest member of the ensemble. His double bass is the sigil of Mother Earth, always in the background, forever present, content to abide, laying down the fundament. But Hadro is an interesting combination of restraint and outburst always framed in excellent tones and literate exposition. One thing I could've used more of is his flute play. The gent's not afraid to bend the instrument off kilter and thus could serve multiple purposes but seems content, at least in this release, to mostly paint backgrounding with it. Regardless, For Us, the Living is a CD requiring a lot more than one listen 'cause there are very subtle depths present, and every time I threw it on, I heard more and more.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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