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Eclectic Originals from Brent Laidler

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    Posted: 09 Mar 2022 at 9:41pm
Coming March 11, 2022

On WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT YOU, guitarist BRENT LAIDLER presents ten eclectic, original compositions that celebrate the friends, mentors, and fellow musicians who have helped and supported him on his journey through music and life. The album is Laidler’s second project as a leader and follows No Matter Where Noir (2017). All About Jazz said, “This is an album where the gestalt is king, and one that gets more enjoyable with repetition as that gestalt sinks into the listener's bones.”
Laidler does not have the national name recognition his playing warrants because his many music-related activities prevent him from extensive touring. Besides being a jazz guitarist, he is also a film/commercial composer, arranger, clinician, radio host, and successful small business owner.
Laidler currently lives in Indiana but was born and raised Michigan to a very musical family. Everyone sang and played at least one instrument and were all musically active in the church. The family moved every four years because his father was a preacher who ministered at a number of parishes around the state. When he was very young, his older brother started him on his musical path when he needed a guitarist for his garage band and cajoled Laidler to learn enough chords to play in the group. Although Laidler learned how to play guitar, he started on trumpet in middle school and excelled at it to the point that by high school, he became a star musician with state-wide recognition as part of the All-State Honors orchestra.
Laidler went on to Western Michigan University where he majored in Music Education with a minor in Composition. He wanted to make himself more marketable as a teacher, so trained to also learn instrument repair. However, rather than becoming a teacher, Laidler decamped to Indiana in 1987 for a job as an instrument repairman. His extensive roster of clients includes both professional musicians and faculty from colleges and high schools around the state, including DePauw, Butler, and Ball State Universities, as well as the Indianapolis Symphony and the International Trumpet Guild.
Laidler continued to play the trumpet but unfortunately suffered from TMJ, which limited his ability to play for any length of time. Rather than give up performing, he picked up the guitar again and was soon playing in a blues band that had considerable success throughout the region, performing at large venues and festivals.
Laidler has been composing and arranging for many years, and he wrote music for an independent Los Angeles film company. One of his projects was the documentary “Then and Now – Single Engine Stations, Volume II,” which won a Telly Award. He also wrote music for commercials and video games, and was a staff arranger for two competitive HS marching bands. Laidler is also jazz clinician and member of the Indiana Jazz Educator’s Association. And starting in 2021, he also began hosting a jazz music program on Saturday nights on WBAA called The Night Shift.

His influences include Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, Barney Kessel, and Pat Martino. He held the guitar chair in a big band and was also very influenced by Ed Bickert.
Laidler was originally going to name the album after his composition, “A Second Chance,” referring to the fact this is his second jazz album as a leaderBut while he was planning material for the album, he lost both his father and his friend and mentor Tony Zamora, the beloved director of the Black Cultural Center at Purdue University, within a day of each other. Their passing caused Laidler to rethink his concept.
Joining Laidler on the album are top Midwest musicians MARK BUSELLI on trumpet, NED BOYD on saxophones and flute, JAMIE NEWMAN on organ, SCOTT PAZERA on bass, and RICHARD “SLEEPY” FLOYD on drums.
Laidler opens the recording with “Keeping It Simple,” a bossa-inflected tune inspired by Jobim and other accomplished Latin composers. Their music especially appeals to Laidler because of the economy of notes that produces such rich melodies. Laider says, “I usually compose by first writing chords before the melody. For me, chords are like a painter’s palette that allows you to paint a picture … or melody. For “Keeping It Simple,” I literally woke up one day with chords already in my head.”
Laidler likes to thumb through his Real Book to find new songs, and one Sunday morning he came across “Minor Mishap” by Tommy Flanagan, which was recorded by Flanagan, John Coltrane and Laidler’s idol, Kenny Burrell. Laidler’s tune “Sunday Mood” is based on “Minor Mishap.” Laidler dedicated “You Ain’t the Bossa Me” to the musicians with whom he has shared the bandstand who helped everyone get through tough gigs with humor and wit.
Even as a child, Laidler loved the music from cartoons and television shows that created mental pictures. “City by the Bay” is an imagistic piece that conveys a desert caravan after a long journey. Laidler has an affinity for blues and performed with a successful blues band for several years. He wrote “Foos Blues” to honor his old bandmates and all the blues musicians from around the country whom he admired and were important to him.
Laidler wrote “Walt’s Waltz” in honor of his high school teacher who was an early influence on his development as a jazz musician. The title “One More (A Samba)” is a reference to jazz musicians who often ask at the end of a set if they have time to do “one more.” This tune is a contrafact of a George Cables’ composition that Tony Zamora liked to play.
“Wouldn’t Be Here Without You” is dedicated to all his bandmates and friends. Saddened by the passing of Chick Corea, Laidler used the changes from Corea’s “Spain” for the solo choruses. Laidler wrote “Pretty Little Bossa” in recognition of “all the people who write and perform beautiful ballads and relaxing melodies that invoke meditation and peace in your soul.”
The paucity of Brent Laidler albums belies his extensive output and many contributions to the music industry as a performer, composer, and educator, which includes serving as the administrator of the Zamora Scholarship Competition in honor of Tony Zamora. On WOULDN’T BY HERE WITHOUT YOU, Laidler eschews pyrotechnics for a warm, more accessible sound. This album is a wonderful introduction to a musician who deserves wider recognition.
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WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT YOU is set for release on March 11, 2022 and will be available everywhere.
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