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Matt Marantz: Offering (2010)

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Matt Marantz: Offering How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Saxophonist Matt Marantz's Offering is a splendid debut; echoing, in part, the lyricism and verve of three of his influences—Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
Julian
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
1928 - 1975
saxophone
, and Phil Woods
Phil Woods
Phil Woods
b.1931
sax, alto
. It's interesting to note that the young New Orleans based saxophonist is a tenorist—whose intrepid lines and phrasings are honed from practice and performance—with an alto-like tonality that is less throaty than players such as Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
b.1971
reeds
, and purposed with its own individuality.

Proving himself to be an astute writer on top of having fierce chops, Marantz's horn leads his band through "The Narrow Path," his playing synonymous with a bird in effortless flight—graceful maneuvers, turns, and flutters—harmoniously supported by pianist Sam Harris and featuring spot-on syncopating from bassist Martin Nevin and drummer Michael Davis. The music evokes a spiritual and peaceful quality, with contributions from in-demand guitarist Steve Cardenas—with whom Marantz once studied—making this an engaging listen.

The recording's tone is consistent throughout its eleven tracks—inner reflections articulated through sophistication and melody. This thoughtful intent is also reflected in the track names. "Quiet, "Patience," and "Hope" are each descriptive of distinct, complex and piercing writing that illustrates communions of dialog and creativity; musician and instruments linked to one another in collaboration.

The inclusion of Cardenas adds another layer. On the lively, upbeat "Pastel" he embarks on a Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
guitar
-like bop groove, but on the title track, he delivers some tasty Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
b.1954
guitar
-esque voicing, which complements the other musicians. Yet the unselfish glow here is cast from the brilliance of Marantz's playing, which is filled with quiet fire and passion.

Offering doesn't try to overstate itself. It discards the notion of "hear-my-chops" bravura, and replaces it with a recording that has technical merit, but more importantly emotional depth; a personal statement from a promising young artist that warrants recognition.

Track Listing: The Narrow Path; Quiet; Patience; Coastlines; Hope; Pastel; Rainfall; Sketches; Dream's Harbor; Offering; Prayer.

Personnel: Matt Marantz: tenor saxophone; Sam Harris: piano; Martin Nevin: bass (1-7, 9-11); Michael Davis: drums; Steve Cardenas: guitar (2, 4, 6, 10); Ruben Samana: bass (8).

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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