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Matthias Lupri Group: Metalix (2006)

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Matthias Lupri Group: Metalix How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

With this program of original compositions, vibraphonist Matthias Lupri takes his modern mainstream sextet through a series of musical adventures. Along with the standard timbres of an intense unit from today's contemporary jazz scene, he also employs electronic ideas to season the session with an added flair.

(Another) Lost Creek, "Dream Nocturne, "Time Design, "Wondering & Wandering and other longer selections serve as the album's benchmarks. They're augmented by brief interlude pieces that seamlessly connect Lupri's themes. These pieces feature stellar soloing from saxophonists Myron Walden and Donny McCaslin, as well as the leader's vibraphone. Lupri's cohesive and creative ensemble paints a series of beautiful landscape murals.

By the instrument's very nature, the vibes provide an impression that makes "Glass Stairs twinkle with a bright sheen. McCaslin's warm tenor puts the session on high heat as he turns the piece into a sizzling affair. Guitarist Nate Radley cools things off for his section of the stairway, before the leader launches an attack of high-speed fours with drummer Jordan Perlson. The ensemble closes with an absorbing romp that finds the entire group conversing animatedly at the top of the stairs.

Elsewhere, the voices of the ensemble commingle seamlessly and balance appropriately to explore a range of emotions. Walden performs "Lonely Interlude a cappella on clear-voiced bass clarinet before Lupri joins him with a mellow rainshower of harmony. "Flowers for Mary Jane marches forward with Thomas Kneeland's confident walking bass pattern blazing a trail that leads to Walden's adventurous alto saxophone hike. Lupri ties it all together with a consistent parade of vibraphone swirls. This recommended session forges ahead with the kind of musical growth that jazz needs—all the elements are there, intricately assembled with a refreshing sense of adventure.

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Track Listing: Metalix IV Prelude; Wondering & Wandering; (Another) Lost Creek; Still; (Still) Lingering; Glass Stairs; Metalix; Metalix Abstract; Dream Nocturne; Ghost Clusters; Lonely Interlude; Flowers for Mary Jane; TD Vibe Intro; Time Design; Wondering & Wandering Reprise; Metalix Dj Vu.

Personnel: Matthias Lupri: vibraphone, electronics; Myron Walden: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto flute; Nate Radley: guitar, electronics; Thomson Kneeland: acoustic bass, electronics; Jordan Perlson: drums, percussion.

Record Label: Summit Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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