Matt Moran Trio: Return Trip

Jerome Wilson By

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Matt Moran Trio: Return Trip
Vibraphonist Matt Moran has carved out a varied musical career for himself. Among other things, he is the leader of the party band Slavic Soul Party! and a member of John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet. He also leads the atmospheric jazz trio on this CD with Gary Versace on Hammond organ and Tom Rainey on drums.

This band rewrites the notion of what an organ trio can sound like. Where a similar group with this instrumentation might be extroverted and bluesy, this trio often has a moody, exotic sound. Moran's glowing patterns, Versace's creeping surges and Rainey's unpredictable percussion make an eerie and unsettling combination, the kind of music which could soundtrack a particularly mysterious scene in a David Lynch movie. On "Ripples" and "Spring" the mesh of murmuring organ and storming drums comes off like an inversion of the overpowering sound of Tony Williams' original Lifetime band with Moran's carefully placed vibes serving the function of John McLaughlin's screaming guitar. On "Chord Conversation," organ and vibes stutters sound random at first, but eventually resolve into a tense tango rhythm held together by crisp drum work. "Effish" is the closest the group comes to a conventional groove, with Rainey actually settling into a swinging rhythm while Versace and Moran trace out a Monkish lounge shuffle over him. "Sometimes That's Ok" is the most abstract work of the session, with tickling percussive noises, short beeps of organ and stretched-out vibe notes congealing into a spectral cloud of prickly but musical sounds which seem to be traveling into outer space.

These three musicians produce a unique sound which never gets loud or goes over the top, but keeps a low level of near-sinister cool which is off-center but hauntingly memorable. The combination of Matt Moran's carefully placed vibes, Gary Versace's growling organ and Tom Rainey's chameleonic drumming produce heady, spaced-out music which sounds like a minimalist version of Sun Ra.

Track Listing

Ripples; Spring; Chord Conversation; Lush; Sometimes That's Ok; Effish; Peace and Integration.


Matt Moran: vibraphone; Gary Versace: piano; Tom Rainey: drums.

Album information

Title: Return Trip | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Diskonife

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