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Satoko Fujii, Angles 9, Here’s to Us & More

Read "Satoko Fujii, Angles 9, Here’s to Us & More" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

I would never presume to know enough about music to compare two of the most brilliant pianists in jazz today: Matt Mitchell and Satoko Fujii. Feel free to go ahead and do that yourself. All I'll say is that they are both amazing and worthy of all the recognition that comes their way. Each has a new recording out and those get sampled in this episode. Mitchell's Phalanx Ambassador is as complicated and challenging (for his musicians as well as ...

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Matt Mitchell: Phalanx Ambassadors

Read "Phalanx Ambassadors" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Pianist Matt Mitchell's music can be appreciated on a number of levels. It's remarkably cerebral, on the one hand, with a conceptual apparatus that sometimes verges on the impenetrable; yet there are also moments in which the many moving parts of his compositions come together in ways that are quite emotionally powerful. And then there's simply the element of wonder: the “how does he do it?" factor. Mitchell himself asserts that the music on Phalanx Ambassadors, his latest release, is ...

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Matt Mitchell: Forage

Read "Forage" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Alto saxophonist Tim Berne could have been called, at the dawn of the new millennium, the American artist least likely to join the ECM Records roster. The thought here was that Berne's relentless momentum and frequent agitation and flat out wild man brazenness wouldn't fit in well enough with the European impressionism/Nordic cool approach (a definite simplification of the way ECM rolls) to attract the attention of ECM Record's head Manfred Eicher. Then Berne appeared on guitarist David Torn's Prezens ...

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Matt Mitchell: Vista Accumulation

Read "Vista Accumulation" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Growing up in a neighborhood, how do you get from, “Hey you kids, get off of my lawn!" to “Congratulations, Mr. Mitchell, on your son winning the Doris Duke Impact award and being named a Pew Fellow"? We are talking about the musical, not the suburban neighborhood here and in seemingly a blink of an eye, pianist Matt Mitchell is ubiquitous. His keyboard touch can be heard in the ensemble Snakeoil led by Tim Berne, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Birdcalls, ...

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Matt Mitchell: Vista Accumulation

Read "Vista Accumulation" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Composer and pianist Matt Mitchell creates haunting and vibrant soundscapes on his second release for Pi Records, Vista Accumulation. The eight, multilayered, originals that comprise the double disc set are organically fluid in structure with a tense ambience and a barely contained fervor within. Saxophonist and clarinetist Chris Speed opens the stimulating “The Damaged Center" with his fiery tenor. The rest of the ensemble percolates and gallops around him. Initially somewhat harmonious the group dynamics grows delightfully more ...

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Matt Mitchell: Vista Accumulation

Read "Vista Accumulation" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

You never really know what's up pianist Matt Mitchell's sleeve. As a sideman he's constantly adapting and growing, creating different palettes and situations that expand the color and content in the music of the Dave Douglas Quintet, Tim Berne's Snakeoil, John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls quintet, and other high profile outfits; as a leader, there's less output to go on, but Mitchell's first two releases--Fiction (Pi Recordings, 2013) and this double-disc album--serve as demonstrations of his significant ...

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Matt Mitchell: Fiction

Read "Fiction" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Ches Smith align for a rather remarkable program as Fiction offers additional credence to the respective artist's increased stature in the progressive jazz community and A-list session status. Among their extensive resumes of group affiliations, the instrumentalists are members of saxophonist Tim Berne's Snake Oil group. Mitchell originally composed these works in 2010, citing them as “musical puzzles." The comprehensive nature of these concise etudes seemingly involves a vast amount of metadata (notes). ...

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Matt Mitchell: Fiction

Read "Fiction" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Pianist Matt Mitchell's debut solo recording, Fiction, is actually a duo recording. And while it is a performance of fifteen compositions, the music was originally conceived of as etudes, or short pieces--exercises to improve the pianist's ability to incorporate improvisation into composed music.Mitchell is quite the in-demand sideman. He can be heard in Tim Berne's Snakeoil, Dave Douglas' Quintet, Darius Jones' Quartet, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet, and in the bands of Michael Attias and Rudresh Mahanthappa.This ...