The debut recording from Spanish guitarist Jordi Matas brings a fresh perspective to the art of cool. His hollow body guitar exudes feeling through his emphasis on thoughtful phrasing, balanced notes, and empathy for the music.
All That Matas features his quintet with sax, piano, guitar, and rhythm section. An interesting personnel tidbit lies in that fact that the piano duties are carried out by Jorge Rossy, who is better known as the drummer with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau. While the rest of the players may not be as well known, their performances contribute to the strength and vitality of the recording.
The recording begins with the dark “Mr. Broken,” which features smooth tenor lines by Marti Serra and probing guitar and piano solos. “Satam Blues” is filled with a soul that is a combination of old and new school inclinations. The arrangements seem to entice the listener into an effortless groove with instrument interaction. On the mellow swinger “Amb la Veritat per Davant” and the free spirited “A Garota,” Matas and company bring a timeless quality to their performances. On the atmospheric “Float Around” the rhythm work by bassist Pere Loewe and drummer Oscar Domènech carry the solos to new heights. The music could just as well be a reissue of a forgotten jazz classic in the way that it brings familiarity yet opens the doors to new possibilities.
Matas’s versatility shows that he can burn as well as chill on the upbeat “7º Infierno.” He also delivers an energetic piano duet on “Els Dies Comptats” and a folksy guitar solo on the finale “The End Song.” In the end all that really matters is whether the music is engaging and with a fresh approach and fertile roots there’s much to enjoy on All that Matas.