Mark Moultrup, Dar Cho

by Jeff Becker

Dar Cho is a collection of 10 original compositions and three well chosen standards that create and well blended offering of new and classic sounds. The core ensemble consists of Moltrup (piano), Rodney Whitaker (bass), George Fludas (drums), and John Wojciechowski (sax) with “Good Will in the Wind” augmented by percussionist Ernie Adams and flautist Michael Levin. Also there is a nice addition of Arco bass by Kurt Sweitz on “Of a Dream.”

The first cut “When Then Was Now” is a bristling cut that is developed on a classical intro then evolves into a hard hitting palette of modern harmony and complex rhythms.

Whitaker and Moultrup’s interaction during the solo is telepathic. Whitaker intuitively follows Moultrups adventurous harmonic travels, building the solo to a surprising tutti interlude. The pulse segues to swing for Wojciechowski’s sax solo; he develops a 4 note motif that continues to build over the swing rhythms, leading to a new interlude theme that introduces bassist Whitaker’s solo. Whitaker exhibits a warm tone, nice upper register playing and inventive harmonic ideas. This is a perfect example of Moultrup’s compositional style, he employ’s interludes, textural changes, and complex improvisational colors.

“Corcovado” features Moultrup in an additional role as a vocalist. He again shows his versatility by giving this classic Jobim standard a new voice. The intro starts with solo piano with classical-esque color; Moultrup employs space, beautiful voicings and twisting lines on piano that finally lead to a familiar subtle bossa melody. Moultrup adorns the cut with relaxed organic vocals that calm the senses and invite the listener to bask in the beauty of the track. His diction is unaffected and clear and his delivery is on target. After the solos Moultrup uniquely states the melody before embarking on a vocal scat outro where he vocalizes in unison with the piano, displaying his keen ability add additional interest to a standard bossa.

Dar Cho is sprinkled with odd time signatures, complex harmonic structures, extended compositions and endless examples of Moultrup’s commanding dexterity on piano. His multi-disciplined abilities add depth and interest to Dar Cho as a complete work. Examples are continuously portrayed by the multi-genres contained within Dar Cho and Moultrup’s uncanny aptitude to deliver styles of jazz with authenticity and innovation; this key element catapults Moultrup and Dar Cho to its higher principle.

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