Ben Wendel: sax; Aaron Parks: piano; Charles Altura: guitar; Matt Brewer: bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.
Matt Brewer is a bassist of modern touch and ample musical vision, who had his first appearance as a leader two years ago with Mythology. The album was recorded with a sextet whose front line included Mark Turner and Steve Lehman.
For his sophomore album, Unspoken, Brewer convenes a completely different band, a tight quintet that fits his call in order to find the best shape for his bold compositions.
“Juno” is a great starting point. Ben Wendel and Charles Altura delineate the melody through a catchy unison while the sensitive chords of Aaron Parks echo in the background. The guitarist then embarks on an improvisational journey, displaying his attractive sound, which softly flows over the rhythmical structure pictured by Brewer and Tyshawn Sorey.
In the title track, a circumspective lullaby, saxophonist and guitarist team up once again, intertwining improvisations, after Brewer had claimed his time.
The quintet’s interaction is outstanding in the half-dreamy, half-imperial “Twenty Years”, a poignant composition by Bill Frisell, in which Wendel’s saxophone implores for mercy while a breezy creativity warms the air.
With a persuasive bass introduction, “Lunar” is my favorite piece of the record. Rolling at a charming rhythm fueled by Sorey’s mordant chops, we are given the pleasure of listening to Park’s intelligent comping and cultivated improvisation in addition to Wendel’s melodic metaphors.
The concise “Evil Song” is a great tune, marching flawlessly with ominous tones toward an uncertain destiny. It precedes Charlie Parker’s “Cheryl”, the second and last cover on the recording. Early improvisations fire up this capricious tune imbued of ebullient swing.
Brewer finishes the recording by entering in cool mode through the stylishly pop clouds of “Tesuque”. The fluency and consistency of the piano-bass-drums activity invite Wendel to another round of enthusiastic blows.
The undeniable compositional qualities of Matt Brewer are magnified through the special rapport that surrounds this quintet.
Unspoken is the bassist’s most ambitious album and arrives with an assortment of tactful collective and individual moments.
04 – Lunar ► 05 – Evil Song ► 09 – Tesuque