All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

216

Matt Criscuolo: Lotus Blossom

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Alto saxophonist Matt Criscuolo's sound strikes me as quite distinctive on his second release, Lotus Blossom. The opening title tune is Billy Strayhorn's lovely, wistful composition, featuring Criscuolo dueting with pianist Larry Willis. The altoist's tone has a tart tang, like a drink of lemonade a wee bit short—bracingly so—on the sugar. The underrated veteran saxman Frank Morgan comes to mind in terms of tone, as well as in terms of attitude, with an energetic, fresh-sounding bop mood as the band comes in on the pianist's "The Wisdom Prize."

Criscuolo steals a page from the Sonny Rollins playbook with his use of trombonist Steve Davis as a frontline partner, giving the harmonies a rich, full sound. Several cuts feature a Latin vibe with the inclusion of Ray Mantilla's tasteful percussion. Wayne Shorter's "The Big Push" gets into a late '60s Blue Note groove. with the alto/trombone teaming sounding marvelous before Criscuolo soars off on a stinging, yet fluid solo.

Pianist Larry Willis brings a garrulously elegant accompanist's style to the proceedings, a distinctive voice in his own right, and he solos with a joyous verve.

Three tunes are Criscuolo-penned. He proves himself a mature songwriter, an artist with a finely focused vision, which is rare for someone on just his second recording. That vision carries through the entire set. One highlight is the Criscuolo-penned "Julian's Pencil," a stretched-out, churning, free-flowing romp full of lively soloing.

An excellent straight-ahead set with a progressive feeling.

Visit Matt Criscuolo on the web.

Track Listing: Lotus Blossom, To Wisdom the Prize, The Big Push, Everthing I Have Is Yours, Spirit Waltz, Parakeet Lovesong, Julian's Pencil, Exciting World of Jazz, Song for Kerry, Iron Willis.

Personnel: Larry Willis: piano; Phil Bowler: bass; Steve Davis: trombone; Eric McPherson: drums; Ray Mantilla: percussion; Matt Crisculo: alto saxophone.

Title: Lotus Blossom | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: M Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Headin’ Out

Headin’ Out

Jazzeria
2015

buy
Blippity Blat

Blippity Blat

Self Produced
2014

buy
Lotus Blossom

Lotus Blossom

M Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Half Light CD/LP/Track Review
Half Light
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 24, 2018
Read The Groove Hunter CD/LP/Track Review
The Groove Hunter
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 24, 2018
Read Powered by Life CD/LP/Track Review
Powered by Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 24, 2018
Read Seymour Reads The Constitution! CD/LP/Track Review
Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 24, 2018
Read Mephiti CD/LP/Track Review
Mephiti
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2018
Read Seymour Reads The Constitution! CD/LP/Track Review
Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Doug Collette
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "Ninety-Nine Years" CD/LP/Track Review Ninety-Nine Years
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 13, 2018
Read "Charlie & Paul" CD/LP/Track Review Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "A Year Ago Today" CD/LP/Track Review A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Hand In Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Hand In Hand
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 7, 2017
Read "Life Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Life Stories
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 8, 2018
Read "Solos" CD/LP/Track Review Solos
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 24, 2018