Performing for the most part on the periphery of jazz listener consciousness in the catalytic environment of Boston and its environs, Matthias Lupri has dedicated himself to one of those instruments sometimes insultingly listed as "miscellaneous" in jazz categories. While a few acknowledged masters of the instrument have transcended such categorizationand in the process have challenged assumptions about the nature of jazz itself (I'm thinking Red Norvo and Gary Burton here)the dismissive mindset often prevails.
That's a shame. We have players like Lupri who dedicate their lives to the art and the instrumentand who through a consistent vision create a distinctive sound. On Shadow Of The Vibe, Lupri combines forces with another Bostonian, George Garzone, to remind listeners of the vibraphone's potential for lightly setting a mood or subtly prodding a group to greater dynamism and intensity.
Born in Germany and growing up in the American Midwest and the Canadian West, Lupri's dedication to a life in music led to his enrollment at Berklee to study with Gary Burton. Touring through various jazz festivals mostly in the Northeast and Canada, and opening for the likes of Tony Bennett and Cher, Lupri is taking jazz vibraphone to the masses.
Shadow Of The Vibe documents Lupri's wide-ranging imagination throughout his compositions and solo development. More than that, though, it presents his craft which uses the vibe as an outlet for deeply felt expression. Small details like his control of the sustain pedal on "Mirror" and his different means of attack depending upon a tune's atmosphere and his Burton-like minimization of vibrato reveal a high degree of professionalism. Plus, his selflessness in developing camaraderie and allowing the other three members of the quartet to shine as equals, especially on "Augies Blues," exhibits a confidence and leadership.
George Garzone in particular shines on "Shadow Of The Vibe" and shows flexibility and lyricism that may surprise listeners of his free work in The Fringe. Employing the soprano sax as often as the tenor, Garzone and Lupri share a sense of purpose in developing a tune through intertwining lines.
Matthias Lupri has created a personalized approach to his instrument and his musicone that will be recognized even more widely in the future.
Track Listing: Investion, Mirror, Fast Corners, Shadow Of The Vibe, Intrusion, Moonlamps, Beatrice, Smiles Through You, Augies Blues, New Fall, Mirror
Personnel: Matthias Lupri, vibraphone; George Garzone, saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Sebastiaan de Krom, drums