The piano only has 88 keys but an infinite number of possibilities are trapped within those black and white beauties. The instrument just sits and waits for the right people to come along and discover these yet-to-be-heard sounds. Judging from this album, Matt Newton is one of the right people.
On Within Reach, the Toronto-based Newton doesn't simply play piano. He expertly shapes phrases, lets notes pool together, creates rich and luxuriant arcs of sound, and balances the yin and yang that exists within these songs. His playing exudes warmth and comfort, yet it remains unpredictable. He's at his best when he's blanketing his trio mates and settling atop the mix, and he's the obvious leader because of it, but he's one who doesn't let ego stop him from making music on a level playing field.
Newton's trio matesbassist Dan Fortin and drummer Ethan Ardellieach help accentuate his personality in different ways. Ardelli, like Newton, is a fan of aural drapery, delivering cymbal-ic gestures and patterns that push, flow and wash up against things. He can be the firmest and stormiest of the bunch, but his work is never rigid or overbearing. Fortin, in many respects, is the man apart. While a round and robust sound might be expected from a bassist who keeps company with these two men, Fortin doesn't fit that bill; his is a slightly woody and focused tone, and he serves as a foil for Newton and Ardelli.
While most piano trios today tend to either work within predictable linear molds or ethereal spaces, Newton's group makes good with shapely designs that manage to be evasive and transparent all at once.
Track Listing: Within Reach; Crossway; Stepping Into The Light; Short Flight; Our Own World;
Building The Ship; Ends; Claire-ity.
Personnel: Matt Newton: piano; Dan Fortin: bass; Ethan Ardelli: drums; Felicity Williams: vocals (5);
Harley Card: guitar (5).
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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