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Matthias Lupri: Transition Sonic

Jim Santella By

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Vibraphonist Matthias Lupri has always captured the essence of straight-ahead jazz at its best. He provides a groove over which his bands improvise in the classic tradition. Echoes of Gary Burton, Bobby Hutcherson, and Milt Jackson abound. From this modern jazz historical foundation, however, he's always felt free to explore.

With his latest release, Lupri retains the traditional bebop spirit that has given us immeasurable pleasure for more than half a century, but brings it all to us from the perspective of original compositions. From eerie and dramatic romps to free and playful cavorts in the park, his suite-like images allow the music to grow. The mainstream has indeed become modern, as the vibraphonist and his stellar ensemble find new ways to express their ideas. Electronic trumpet echoes and wide guitar reverberations fit in nicely between pages and pages of familiar-sounding soundscapes. The added features are used sparingly, and serve to punctuate the ensemble's original thematic material.

The vibraphone's timbre blends well with just about any instrumental combination. Here, Mark Turner, Nate Radley and Cuong Vu ensure that Lupri's instrumental voice fits the ensemble sound like a hand in a glove. Their subdued tones all blend together as one emotional vote for quality in the sounds that we experience every day. Vu's mellow trumpet, Turner's robust saxophone, and Radley's fluid guitar fit well with Lupri's rain shower of tonal colorations. Together they've created a superb sound and a highly recommended album.

Track Listing: Sonic Prelude; Sonic; Middle Zone; The Day After; Deception; Iceland Dark; Chime Trance; Double Trouble; Prairie; Intro; Earlier Years; Sonic Reprise

Personnel: Matthias Lupri (vibraphone, electronics), Mark Turner (tenor and soprano saxophones), Cuong Vu (trumpet, electronics), Nate Radley (guitar, electronics), Thomas Kneeland (acoustic bass, electronics), Jordan Perlson (drums)

Title: Transition Sonic | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Summit Records

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