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Matt Gordy: Be With Me


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Matt Gordy: Be With Me
There is an expression of high regard for playing, "in the tradition," which basically means, yeah, that is jazz, music of the highest order. Matt Gordy's "Be With Me" is particularly arresting because it is in the tradition, but neither a recreation nor an exercise in nostalgia.

Everyone from Charlie Christian to Modern Jazz Quartet has played "Topsy" (1937) in one form or another. It lends itself to multiple blues changes and swing to boppish solos, all of which you will find. Play close attention to Gordy and his band soloing on this classic, but with up-to-date ideas. "You and the Night and the Music" is quite novel, with a unison horn quote from Mulgrew Miller's solo on the tune on Tony Williams Young at Heart (Columbia, 1997) followed by Jeff Elwood, Ron Stout and Ido Meshulam, up tempo, but not at a breakneck pace. "Camouflage" is a Gordy original that somehow conjures up both Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage (Blue Note, 1965) and a Havana club scene from Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather," (1972) with Alan Pasqua playing a pretty solo over Chris Colangelo's repeated bass figure. "Spring Ahead" is a boppish, twisting melody that explodes—and that is the only word—with Gordy pushing everyone, himself included.

Just when you may need a break, you get one with "Chloe," an original ballad dedicated to Gordy's granddaughter. There are two vocals as well, featuring Sherry Williams, "Sunny" and "Be With Me." They bring yet another flavor, a different texture to an already engagingly diverse set of performances. "Soul Eyes" is another contrafact that owes its origins to John Coltrane. Ido Mesulam's trombone solo here is about harmonies and ideas. Most emphatically, not another display of superchops on the instrument. The tenor-bone blend on the out chorus is most tuneful and tasteful. "My Shining Hour" is one of those standards that gives a player space to blow, which both Ellwood and Stout do to excellent effect. Some superb comping (and a great solo) by Alan Pasqua can be heard as well. If you like the sound of Ron Stout's trumpet leading the way, there is plenty of it on "Wheatland," It eases into another ironic Ido Meshulam 'bone solo cum unison passage.

A very fine recording: swinging, sophisticated, varied and most musical. Matt Gordy reminds his listeners that you can have respect for the past, but not be a prisoner of it. The liner notes by Ken Franckling are literate and a pleasure to read as well.

Track Listing

Topsy; You and the Night and the Music; Camouflage; Spring Ahead; Chloe; Be with Me; Soul Eyes; My Shining Hour; Wheatland; Sunny.


Album information

Title: Be With Me | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Self Produced

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