218

Matt Cricscuolo: Melancholia

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Matt Cricscuolo: Melancholia Take a quartet, add some strings, and you'll get an elegant seasoning to flavor jazz. Alto saxophonist Matt Criscuolo accomplishes this with Melancholia, his third album as a leader.

Criscuolo has a knack for embracing the hard bop style, yet adding some contemporary improvisation. His credits include work with David Murray, and Etta James, and he counts among his influences Murray, Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman. For Melancholia, named for a Billy Eckstine composition covered here, Criscuolo is accompanied by pianist Larry Willis, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Billy Drummond. A small string ensemble joins the foursome on several selections.

"Pensivity" is one of two Criscuolo originals. The rhythm section is subtle but effective during the opening melody. The sax is smooth and clear. Criscuolo puts it through its lower range at times, but consistently keeps the sound flowing. Willis scores on an extended solo, punctuated by the bass and a mix of cymbals and rim shots. The sax expresses freely during the closing sequence, wailing at times.

Willis composed "Ethiopia." The piano opens in a brooding tone, soon joined by the strings and the rest of the ensemble. Sax and strings blend, giving the song a symphonic edge. The strings take a break during Criscuolo's solo, but come back, adding more color to Willis' passage.

"Chan's Song" is one of two Herbie Hancock pieces in this session. Criscuolo delivers some of his most beautiful playing here. Drummond shines behind Willis' solo and again during the melody, stressing certain points by changing the pace on the cymbals. This is followed by a groove-oriented take on Hancock's "Tell Me a Bedtime Story." The upbeat mood is a departure from the typical slow arrangements.

Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes" and "Miyako" are also covered. However, the combination of fresh arrangements and Criscuolo's playing sets this album apart from others that feature more covers than originals.

Track Listing: When in Rome; Pensivity; Ethiopia; Infant Eyes; Chan

Personnel: Matt Criscuolo: alto saxophone; Larry Willis: piano, string arrangements; Billy Drummond: drums; Phil Bowler: bass; Dave Teggar: cello; Rachel Golub: violin; Whitney LaGrange: violin; Julie Goodale: viola.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works" CD/LP/Track Review Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Prototype" CD/LP/Track Review Prototype
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "A Missing Shade of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A Missing Shade of Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Beauty & Truth" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty & Truth
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Blood
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Blues and Ballads" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Ballads
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2016
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!