201

Matt Ray: Lost in New York

By

Sign in to view read count
It takes courage to include the word "lost in a CD title—some might draw a parallel between title and content. In this case, though, the parallel is both apt and positive. As pianist Matt Ray's liner notes imply and his performance illustrates, he is lost in the best possible sense: totally immersed in the moment and the music.

From the first notes of Wayne Shorter's "Lost —the album's opening cut—there is significant interplay among Ray, bassist Danton Boller and drummer Quincy Davis. This is a true trio, not two guys comping behind a soloist, waiting their turn. The performance is a prime example of jazz as conversation. Each solo is well expressed, but paying attention to the accompanying commentary is also rewarding.

Ray's first album, We Got It (Cap, 2001), was perhaps unfairly tagged as a soul-jazz album, and he returns to this fertile ground with straightforward and lyrical readings of Stevie Wonder's "Where Were You When I Needed You? and Curtis Mayfield's "The Makings of You. Ray's is the dominant voice on these cuts and discovers interesting jazz in good-to-great pop.

Tenor sax giants provide inspiration for the majority of covers this time around. A pair of tunes from the underrated Coltrane's Sound (Atlantic, 1960) stand as the centerpiece of the album: the gorgeous "Central Park West, and a jaunty reading of "Satellite. Besides these and Shorter's leadoff, there is the briskly energetic, "Pent-Up House, by Sonny Rollins and a concise but passionate version of Joe Henderson's "Serenity. Again, each player leaves good space in his solo for his partners to converse, adding complexity to the performances.

Ray's three originals fit agreeably with the covers. "El Bosque is a meditative respite between Wonder and Rollins. "Greene Street Blues is the most overtly swinging number on the album; you wouldn't be surprised to hear Pee Wee Russell or Sidney Bechet sliding in counter to Ray's lead. "Last Call on the Lower East Side, like its predecessor, evokes a place where Ray enjoys being lost.

Ray's website does not list Hank Jones as an influence, but he exhibits some of Jones' playfulness, and his instinct that the song should guide the technique rather than the reverse. This is a very good album by a leader and trio who should record more often.


Track Listing: Lost; Where Were You when I Needed You?; El Bosque; Pent-Up house; Central Park West; Satellite; The Makings of You; Serenity; Greene Street Blues; Last Call on the Lower East Side.

Personnel: Matt Ray: piano; Danton Boller: bass; Quincy Davis: drums.

Title: Lost in New York | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Consolidated Artists Productions


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazz Room Cortez
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "The Beautiful Day" CD/LP/Track Review The Beautiful Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks" CD/LP/Track Review Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Saluting Sgt. Pepper" CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Live From A&R Studios New York August 26th 1971" CD/LP/Track Review Live From A&R Studios New York August 26th 1971
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.