Guitarist Mathieu Soucy, a 2019 graduate of Canada's McGill University, in Montreal, hits the ground running with a splendid debut album, Recollecting, on which he guides a talented quartet of young musicians through seven of his engaging compositions plus Thelonious Monk's "Reflections" and the well-traveled Rodgers and Hart standard, "Where or When" (sung by Humber College alum Caity Gyorgy).
Gyorgy is heard on one other number, "Thinker and a Fool," a bright samba whose cryptic lyric is her own. Elsewhere, Soucy's nimble guitar charts the course, followed in lock step by pianist Gentiane MG, bassist Mike De Masi and drummer Jacob Wutzke. Soucy, a natural-born swinger with technique to burn, lays his cards on the table without pause on the brisk, bop-flavored opener, "Lennie's Changes," wherein Gentiane MG shows he is no laggard in that department either, and Wutzke adds his own exclamation mark.
After "Where or When," on which Gyorgy tries swinging and scatting with mixed results, the quartet ensnares the seductive jazz waltz "Turner Days" (with a perceptive solo by de Masi) and handsome "Blues for Barry" before Gyorgy's return. "Mike's Mudra" is another up-tempo romp whose tantalizing melody is undergirded by clever ad libs from Soucy, Gentiane MG and de Masi. Following the well-paved "5th Avenue," on which Gentiane MG solos perceptively and Soucy and Wutzke follow suit, Soucy has the meditative "Reflections" to himself (and does quite well with it) before the quartet returns for the sunlit finale, "Recollecting," wherein everyone shines.
While it is not plausible to surmise where Soucy's career path may lead, what can be affirmed from Recollecting is that he has taken a more than respectable first step.
Lennie’s changes; Where or when (Rodgers/Hart); Turner days; Blues for Barry; Thinker and a fool (lyrics: C. Gyorgy);
Mike’s mudrā; 5th Avenue; Reflections (T.S. Monk); Recollecting.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.