The Brad Dutz Quartet blends 20th century acoustic classical chamber music with elements of improvisation and jazz. Comprised of Brian Walsh on clarinet, bass clarinet and contra bass clarinet, Dr. Paul Sherman on oboe and Englishhom, cellist Chris Votek, and Brad on marimba,vibes and hand percussion.. The combination ofmarimba and cello mixed with bass clarinet and oboe treat the listener to an unusual palate of instruments rarely heard in new music.
The Brad Dutz Quartet first carne together in 2005 for a New Music Festival at the Red Cat Theater. BRAD describes the group; "I wanted a chamber group that was acoustic and jazz-influenced as well as classically based with unusual colors". The compositions and instruments create that. They have played concerts and held master classes at Cal institute of the Arts, Saddleback College, Chapman College, Cal state LA, Cal state LONG BEACH, McGroarty arts center and quite a few venues around southern california including the Open Gate Theater series at the Eagle Rock Community Center. With this instrumentation, the music sounds very unique. The compositions have many different tonal centers and ostinatos, mixed with 20th century classical chamber group forms. Some of the pieces have sections for them to improvise over, bridging the jazz and classical genre. The Quartet recently released their follow-up to their debut "When Manatees Attack"  recording, intriguing and consistently colorful set called "Whimsical Excursion Boats". It is not an overstatement to say that no other group sounds like this one.
Brad Dutz - mallets, percussion, composer
Dr. Paul Sherman - oboe, english horn
James Sullivan - Bb and bass clarinets
Chris Votek - cello
Selected Reviews of WHEN MANATEES ATTACK
Brad Dutz - When Manatees Attack (CD, pfMENTUM, Modern jazz/modern classical)
When Manatees Attack is a peculiar album...which is nothing less than we would expect from Brad Dutz and and the almost-always s-perplexing pfMENTUM label. On this album, Dutz plays a variety of odd percussion instruments and elicits assistance from Paul Sherman (oboe, english horn), James Sullivan (bass clarinet, G clarinet), Rachel Arnold (cello), and Jasper Dutz (clarinet). The compositions on this album are rather stark and slightly herky-jerky in nature...often sounding like the soundtrack to an avant garde cartoon. Our favorite track is the strange, lengthy "Biff the Salesman" which features some subtle and unconventional xylophone playing. Other bizarre compositions include"Spongy Bark," "Insulated Potato Wedges," and the title track. Brad Dutz never fails to entertain...and When Manatees Attack is another striking addition to his already impressive catalog. Intelligent and thought provoking. (Rating: 5)
I am not sure what the sound of manatees attacking is but maybe it might somewhat have aspects of the title track. Beyond that we have a creative yet clean album that features instruments that rarely get the limelight. On this project we hear an interesting mix of instruments especially the wide range of percussion and other sounds by DUTZ. In many places I thought I might be listening to a movie or nature score or theme. Some wildlife documentaries occasionally used oboes and horns to present frolicking young animals and here and there that image popped into my head. Musically there are long cuts that develop a theme and there's lots of tight, light and bright playing or jamming. This is great creative and experimental stuff and is a refreshing break from the overly commercial stuff. I think this CD is more for the afficionado of oboe, clarinet, english horn, and percussion. Just listening to the music is relaxing for the most part and some will find many uses [for it] such as for background sounds, relaxing and meditation, or for a follow along. Lots of talent here and clearly a different sound.
BRAD DUTZ - When Manatees Attack (pfMentum 042; USA) Featuring Paul Sherman on oboe & English horn; James Sullivan on bass clarinet & G clarinet; Rachel Arnold on cello and Brad Dutz a wealth of assorted percussion & all compositions plus special guest Jasper Dutz Bb clarinet for one piece. This is percussion wiz, Brad Dutz, 6th disc as a leader on pfMentum, after having a couple on Nine Winds. Each disc that Brad has been involved with has different personnel and instrumentation. "Spongy Bark" has some wonderful, Zappa-like modern classical composing for marimba, two clarinets and cello, with a tap-dancing xylophone solo in the middle. While Brad's spirited, crafty percussion is often at the center of each piece, his writing for clarinet, double reeds and cello is consistently engaging. One thing I like about Brad is that he doesn't play a drum-kit, yet he always keeps the rhythm flowing on other percussion instruments like congas, dumbek, darbouka and marimba. There is something special about the sound/blend of a bass clarinet, oboe, cello and a marimba, that makes this both unique and consistently intriguing. It reminds me of the Oregon (the group) often combined various cultures and styles, thus becoming something unique and in between categories. At 73 plus minutes, I had thought that this disc might be too long, however it is quite rich, enchanting and provocative throughout. - BLG
October 04, 2007 By Erik R. Quick
February 07, 2007 By Mark Corroto
May 2007 JAZZTIMES By Chris Kelsey
©2010 Brad Dutz