Matt Panayides: Conduits

Jack Bowers By

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Conduits, Matt Panayides' second album as a leader, pairs his resilient guitar on the front line with the reliable tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, ably supported by bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Mark Ferber. In spite of its esoteric name, the album is unshakably bright and accessible, with everyone abiding by Panayides' muse and playing their roles remarkably well.

As Panayides wrote and arranged everything, much of the session's success rests on his musical acuity, which it should be noted is beyond reproach. While none of his themes is likely to become a jazz standard, each one serves as a durable springboard for astute improvisation by Panayides and / or Perry. The lone ballad ("Heny's Tune") is encircled by works of varying mood and tempo, starting with the frisky "Notes from the Anechoic (echo-free) Chamber" (we looked it up). Panayides opens with a sparkling solo and Perry takes it from there, framing the first of several emphatic statements. The spirit remains upbeat on "The Past Is Obdurate" (stubborn, inflexible), which precedes "Heny's Tune."

"Awaken" is reminiscent of early bop-era constructions by such pioneers as Stan Getz / Johnny Smith, "Shades of Greens" much the same with a more even-tempered veneer. "Gravity and Walt" (introduced for the first minute by Panayides' a cappella guitar) is purely melodic, "Watcher" a shuffling backdrop for Perry's sinuous tenor and Panayides' sunny guitar. The ensemble wraps things up with "Of the Winter Light," which starts slowly and gathers momentum behind expressive solos from Panayides and Perry and solicitous timekeeping by Kneeland and Ferber.

Although no new ground is broken, Conduits is a well-polished quartet session free from harmful side effects. The fact that it was recorded in Brooklyn, NY, and released on the Pacific Coast Jazz label is curious but otherwise irrelevant.

Track Listing: Notes from the Anechoic Chamber; The Past Is Obdurate; Heny’s Tune; Awaken; Shades of Greens; Gravity and Walt; Watcher; Of the Winter Light.

Personnel: Matt Panayides: composer, arranger, guitar; Rich Perry: tenor saxophone; Thomson Kneeland: bass; Mark Ferber: drums.

Title: Conduits | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Pacific Coast Jazz

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