258

Matt Renzi: Lunch Special

Blaine Fallis By

Sign in to view read count
Lunch Special should win a marketing award for having the freshest CD design concept, although the actual photo of linguine with oysters used as the CD imprint may not be as fresh as the music itself. At least the designer was nice enough to reveal a relatively clean plate inside the tray card once the CD is removed. However, a long and winding piece of linguine is not a bad way to describe a typical sax line from Matt Renzi, and the whole plate could represent his trio sound. (Who is the oyster, though?)

Renzi's affinity for the trio dates back to his days in New York when he was rooming with bassist Masa Kamaguchi. Drummer Jimmy Weinstein dropped by and heard some amazing tenor sax music coming from upstairs, and the two were introduced. After a time he played a duo session with Renzi, which led to Lines and Ballads (Fresh Sound, New Talent, 1999), the first of many trio recordings with no chordal instrument.

Renzi has a rare ability to tie lines together that drift over melody and rhythm—floating over such barriers as if unnecessary, while somehow remaining within a song's thematic center. Triplets become quintuplets, which become something in between. Renzi must be the most polite free jazz player there is, playing up, down, and all around the melody, while never quite letting on that he's doing anything wrong, as he remains sonorous and pleasant in the midst of panoramic leaps of faith.

Lunch Special uses what is called the Matt Renzi Trio, with Dave Ambrosio on bass and Russ Meissner on drums. Ambrosio is able to match Renzi's mood and has tone for days on his upright bass. Meissner plays with restraint, quirkiness, and a creativity that spurs the others on to new ideas. The combo has toured and recorded internationally, and each understands how to meld into a collective creativity that combines swing, rock, tango, ballad and free forms of rhythm, as the song requires. Renzi, whose father and grandfather were both world-class symphonic woodwind players, went on from Berklee to receive his MA in Classical Composition from San Francisco State. He brings a classical discipline to his approach towards handling his reeds and tone, while simultaneously and thoroughly understanding jazzspeak.

Many of the album's 10 tracks carry forward the lighthearted theme. Song titles such as "Chopping Mall," "Happy Hour," "School's Out," "Chicken Soup Dance," and "Lunch Special" suggest a humor that music in this genre often lacks. But don't be fooled. Although the musicians don't appear to be taking themselves too seriously, the music is bold, fresh, and deliciously creative.


Track Listing: Track Listing: Circolazione; Happy Hour; Chopping Mall; Pula Paradise; Nothing Could Be; School's Out (intro); School's Out; Chicken Soup Dance (intro); Chicken Soup Dance; Lunch Special.

Personnel: Matt Renzi: tenor sax, clarinet; Dave Ambrosio: bass; Russ Meissner: drums.

Title: Lunch Special | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Three P's Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "The Space Between" CD/LP/Track Review The Space Between
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Beyond The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond The Moon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Negative Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Negative Spaces
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "The Chase" CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Jazz Flute Traditions" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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