Night Cravings from Matty Stecks & Persiflage features Matty (saxophones & flute, compositions), Curtis Hasselbring (trombone), Todd Neufeld (guitar), Dave Ambrosio (bass) and Satoshi Takeishi (drums & percussion).
The record features eight tracks that equally highlight the individual skills of each musician in this tight ensemble. Night Cravings opens the record with elegantly weaved lines before solos take over. There’s a great solo by Satoshi Takeishi on this track which I absolutely love.
Do The Betty Rubble opens with a dissonant guitar part ala’ Ben Monder before the lines come in. There’s a contemplative mood here before the surprising swinging part comes in alongside some distorted guitar chords before it goes back down. The spacious percussion textures add to the mystery of the piece as Dave Ambrosio solos with Tood Neufeld playing lines & harmonics in the background. Curtis Hasselbring’s solo continues the mood before the theme kicks back in.
Agriturismo begins with a almost comical humorous march feel before going into an open sounding improvisation with a bowed bass and trombone collective improvisation section that leads into Matty taking over solo. It’s a very playful track with some tense harmonies and lines – interesting stuff.
What Seems Eternity in Salem introduces the first time I hear Todd Neufeld on nylon string guitar on this record. The acoustic sound adds a different feeling to the track. The guitar solo has some bebop tinged chromaticism but mostly it’s lyrical with chordal stabs and Todd’s voice singing every once in awhile adding a nice flavor to the piece.
Bastard Rag showcases Matty Stecks and Curtis Hasselbring soloing with good ensemble support. I can imagine that this is a piece that would be great for concerts. Scene Change features more tasteful percussion work before the light harmonized flute and trombone lines come in. The flute solo here is exciting and again drums support the feel of the solo really well.
Unison is as honest as a song title is with (yes) unison lines in the theme. The solo section bring contrast again with more of that free improvisation vibe with collective surprise hits and dissonant expression. All this goes on for awhile before it goes back to the unison theme.
Ant Colony closes the record with various time feel changes before the guitar solo. There’s a lot of drama in the guitar solo and the attitude mixing the legato & staccato phrases is a highlight here. The extended tension of the piece is carried in the bass line as the soloing happens & the other instruments play the theme again.
Overall, if you’re a fan of good solid small jazz ensemble playing, this is a record worth listening. Good musicianship throughout and it has a nice balance of arrangement & improvisation.
Get the album here:
[About Matty Stecks]
As a leader Matty Stecks has released albums with projects Dead Cat Bounce (Innova, Cuneiform) and Musical Tramps (Ropeadope) – all to critical acclaim – and spent time in the Northeast USA and Canada (where he recently served as professor in jazz studies at Brandon University).
He has toured internationally, and collaborated with notable ensembles (Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Composers Alliance) and featured special guests (Joe Lovano, Gary Smulyan, Lonnie Plaxico and others).
With an original, research-based mindset in embodied composition, Steckler brings his dynamic, holistic approach to each musical experience.
On Persiflage (the 1st album) release:
“Steckler’s passionate delivery and splendidly warped sensibility make this… one of the best small group jazz discs of the past year.” – Nate Dorward, Exclaim!
[Submissions for Review Consideration]
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