242

Matt Slocum: Portraits

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Matt Slocum's multicolored traps—at times forceful or delicate, creatively painting varied tempos with the essence of swing—define the drummer's debut, Portraits. Hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota, Slocum's introduction carries forward the torch of patriarchs Max Roach and Elvin Jones amongst others, but he also carves out his own rhythmic patterns with young contemporaries such as Eric Harland and Johnathan Blake.

Slocum is joined by equally distinguished peers: award-winning pianist Gerald Clayton, whose own debut, Two-Shade (ArtistShare, 2009), was well received; and resolute bassist Massimo Biolcati, a longtime associate of guitarist Lionel Loueke. Portraits is mostly a trio outing, with special guest saxophonists Walter Smith III, Jaleel Shaw and Dayna Stephens, all noteworthy young voices, appearing on a couple of tracks.

Slocum presses forward with scintillating new material that has emotion and drive, unveiling nuanced charts like the stylish "Cambria," whose melody is suffused with a swinging glow. The trio's communication is palpable—each player's effervescence supporting and lifting each other and the music to higher grounds. But fertile soil is also tilled to great effect on the cover of Duke Ellington's "Daydream," where Smith plays with a deep tone, like an old soul from times past, and where Slocum's cymbal and mallet touches are simply haunting.

"Seven Stars" shifts with ease between heated modality and cool, marked by ubiquitous drums, torrential horns salvos and complexity touching sweet melodism to create one of the recording's best pieces. The remainder of the set follows form, including "Illusions and Delusions," featuring Stephens' tenor providing warmth, and "Avenida del Paraiso," with Biolcati's quaking bass and Slocum's spidery traps creating an intricate web for Clayton to navigate.

Present day jazz is clearly not stagnate in the very good hands (and sticks) of Matt Slocum—a young drummer who plays with empathy and verve.


Track Listing: Homage; Cambria; Daydream; Shadows; For Alin; Seven Stars; Portraits; Illusions and Delusions; Avenida del Paraiso.

Personnel: Gerald Clayton: piano; Massimo Biolcati: bass; Matt Slocum: drums; Walter Smith III: tenor saxophone; Jaleel Shaw: alto saxophone; Dayna Stephens: tenor saxophone.

Title: Portraits | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Chandra Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Bach: Solo Works for Marimba" CD/LP/Track Review Bach: Solo Works for Marimba
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Evolution - Seeds and Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution - Seeds and Streams
by Phil Barnes
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "United" CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "And to the Republic" CD/LP/Track Review And to the Republic
by Mark F. Turner
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 20, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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