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Matt Marantz: Offering

Mark F. Turner By

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Saxophonist Matt Marantz's Offering is a splendid debut; echoing, in part, the lyricism and verve of three of his influences—Charlie Parker, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, and Phil Woods. It's interesting to note that the young New Orleans based saxophonist is a tenorist—whose intrepid lines and phrasings are honed from practice and performance—with an alto-like tonality that is less throaty than players such as Chris Potter, and purposed with its own individuality.

Proving himself to be an astute writer on top of having fierce chops, Marantz's horn leads his band through "The Narrow Path," his playing synonymous with a bird in effortless flight—graceful maneuvers, turns, and flutters—harmoniously supported by pianist Sam Harris and featuring spot-on syncopating from bassist Martin Nevin and drummer Michael Davis. The music evokes a spiritual and peaceful quality, with contributions from in-demand guitarist Steve Cardenas—with whom Marantz once studied—making this an engaging listen.

The recording's tone is consistent throughout its eleven tracks—inner reflections articulated through sophistication and melody. This thoughtful intent is also reflected in the track names. "Quiet, "Patience," and "Hope" are each descriptive of distinct, complex and piercing writing that illustrates communions of dialog and creativity; musician and instruments linked to one another in collaboration.

The inclusion of Cardenas adds another layer. On the lively, upbeat "Pastel" he embarks on a Wes Montgomery-like bop groove, but on the title track, he delivers some tasty Pat Metheny-esque voicing, which complements the other musicians. Yet the unselfish glow here is cast from the brilliance of Marantz's playing, which is filled with quiet fire and passion.

Offering doesn't try to overstate itself. It discards the notion of "hear-my-chops" bravura, and replaces it with a recording that has technical merit, but more importantly emotional depth; a personal statement from a promising young artist that warrants recognition.

Track Listing: The Narrow Path; Quiet; Patience; Coastlines; Hope; Pastel; Rainfall; Sketches; Dream's Harbor; Offering; Prayer.

Personnel: Matt Marantz: tenor saxophone; Sam Harris: piano; Martin Nevin: bass (1-7, 9-11); Michael Davis: drums; Steve Cardenas: guitar (2, 4, 6, 10); Ruben Samana: bass (8).

Title: Offering | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced

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