Andrew Hadro, “Cortelyou,” from For Us, The Living II: Marcescence
Andrew Hadro’s approach to the baritone sax is one of subtlety and elegance, a style harking back to the soft-edged playing of Gerry Mulligan. As a composer, however, he’s a conceptualist with a gaze fixed squarely on the future. Marcescence, his second installment in his For Us, The Living Series, forges along the path blazed by its predecessor, which sought to honor “tradition through innovation” by highlighting new works by living composers. Hadro and his trio make good on their mission by casting works by Wayne Shorter, Bill Frisell and Radiohead in a new light. But some of the most compelling tracks on the album spring from the pen of Hadro himself, including the standout “Cortelyou,” a sonic whirlpool of a tune in which the leader unfurls wispy lines of improv atop an ostinato of meditative piano. Hovering between profound serenity and churning intensity, the song seems content, ultimately, to keep listeners suspended in the balance.