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Matt Shulman: So It Goes

Woodrow Wilkins By

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Matt Shulman's second self-produced CD, So It Goes, is fresh, innovative, and just plain different. With hints of Chris Botti, Miles Davis, and others, the album is a pleasant, perhaps even enchanting, collection of six original tunes and three standards. Shulman, who handles vocals, trumpet and effects—aided by sidemen Matt Clohesy on acoustic bass and Jason Wildman on drums and percussion—delivers an otherwordly sound. Often, the leader combines his voice with that of his trumpet.

Shulman started playing classical violin and piano when he was three, moving to baritone horn at age eight, but it wasn't until age twelve that he fully took to an instrument: the trumpet. He has toured internationally, recorded and/or collaborated with such artists as Brad Mehldau, Ethan Iverson and Reid Anderson from the Bad Plus, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joe Lovano, Nneena Freelon, and others. His credentials also include solos on Saturday Night Live, appearances on the Showtime Channel, and both soloist and composer at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Shulman isn't blessed with the greatest voice, which actually works out for the type of music presented on So It Goes. He meshes nicely with the ambient sounds of the instruments. And since many of the tunes have a dark, haunting element, his vocals serve to enhance the mood. On the title song, Shulman is something of a tour de force. He sings, plays trumpets, and uses his voice as a muted horn in a solo and a duet with the trumpet.

On some of the longer pieces, the trio really stretches out. The sassy "Truckin' features the group in a carefree, swinging atmosphere. Shulman goes it alone for the first minute of "Zeppelin, again pairing vocals with trumpet. Clohesy and Wildman really kick it when the main melody starts. At times, Shulman's delivery could pass a Middle Eastern holy chant, complemented by muted trumpet. At about the 3:30 mark, the instrument dips into its lower extremes while the voice heads in the opposite direction. Shulman then takes both into an upper register. The trio's delivery of the classic "My Funny Valentine is appropriate. The song itself is melancholy; add to that Shulman's dark tones and you have a match made in free-form heaven.

Shulman's music is similar in approach to the avant-garde style popular in the 1960s, but with an ethereal quality. The music may be too abstract for smooth jazz fans, but the more adventurous listener may appreciate, if not adore, So It Goes.


Track Listing: So It Goes; Almost There; My Funny Valentine; Forgetting/Remembering Yourself; Truckin

Personnel: Matt Shulman: trumpet, vocals, effects; Matt Clohesy: acoustic bass; Jason Wildman: drums, percussion.

Title: So It Goes | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Jaggo Records

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