Matt Renzi is one of a handful of truly virtuoso talents utilizing instrumentation including the oboe while never fully landing in the realm of third stream music. Deep yet amazingly accessible!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Rise and Shine is the eighth release for Matt Renzi. The addition of two South Indian Masters seems to have been a stroke of genius as Giridhar Udupa and A.R. Balaskandan are able to transform more traditional Indian melody and rhythm into a more form fitting fashion for the improvisational music we have come to know as jazz in the United States. The possibility for harmonic disconnect is avoided with seamless interplay and lyrical conversations including trumpet player Ralph Alessi and a solid rhythm section of bassist Dave Ambrosio and drummer Russ Meisner.
This Berklee college graduate has made a concerted effort not to fall in line with the occasionally mass produced sound that has been coming out of one of the nations leading music schools as of late. From the more eclectic swing of the opener "Noasis" to the textured harmonies of "Animals Come Forth" there is little doubt that exploring the lyrical road less traveled would seem to be the inherent wheelhouse of this reedman extraordinaire. Post bop rhythms, Indian accents and melodic twists and turns allow Rise and Shine to give up something new with each subsequent spin. An intriguing effort that pushes the musical envelope without pushing the listener off the harmonic cliff. One of the more pleasant surprises for 2014
Tracks: Noasis; Rise and Shine; Wall Tune; SP; Tha Thom; Number Two; Animals Come Forth; Vetro.
Personnel: Matt Renzi: Saxophone, Oboe, Clarinet, Flute; Ralph Alessi: Trumpet (3,4,7); A.R. Balaskandan: Mridangam (1,5); Giridhar Udupa: Vocal Percussion (1); Dave Ambrosio: Bass; Russ Meisner: Drums.