There are a thousand tenor players in the naked city...remember Matt Bauder.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
There are phenomenal tenor players crawling out of the woodwork and Matt Bauder is one of the best. With Nightshades we are treated to a theoretical blank slate from which Bauder bends some rules of convention while breaking others but it works! Working with the groundbreaking composer Anthony Braxton has allowed Matt the freedom and obviously the confidence to find his own voice which turns convention upside down, or perhaps sideways. There is aggressive hard bop and a more open ended free sound while managing to keep one foot back in the days of west coast cool. The manipulation of form and function without short circuiting the listeners cerebral cortex is nothing short of fascinating.
"Octavia Minor" opens the release with a deconstructed bossa type groove and a small big band type arrangement that is original yet oddly familiar. "August and Counting" is full contact sonic fury where no quarter is given, improvisational music goes nuclear with enough power to light up a small city. "Nighshades" is jazz sexy. A steady rollin' New Orleans style drum beat and a smoldering and subtle blues infusion lurking just beneath the surface. Matt Bauder is blessed with an immediately recognizable tenor sound, that musical happy place between Albert Ayler and Michael Brecker.
A working band sound from yesterday with a cutting edge presentation of today. An impressive offering that is easily a stealth recording that could slide under some folks radar, but not mine.
Matt recently joined Arcade Fire...nuff said.
Tracks: Octavia Minor; Weekly Resolution; Star Wykoff; Rule of Thirds; August and Counting; NightShades.
Personnel: Jason Ajemian: Bass; Kris Davis: Piano; Matt Bauder: Tenor Saxophone; Nate Wooley: Trumpet; Tomas Fujiwara: Drums.