July 13, 2024

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CD review: The Matt Gordy Jazz Tonite Sextet – Be With Me 2022: Video, CD cover

Drummer Matt Gordy swings hard and with taste with his mix of standards and originals on this release. He’s joined together with Jeff Ellwood/ts-ss, Chris Colangelo/b, Ido Meshulam/tb ,Alan Pasqua/p, Ron Stout/tp-fh and Sherry Williams/voc.

Williams gets soulful on an upbeat read of the Boomer hit “Sunny” while pretty in a trio setting with a deft Gordy on “Be With Me”. The horns are hopping on the swing classic “Topsy” and the team gives a rapid pulse on the bopping “Spring Ahead” . Meshulam strusts through “Soul Eyes” and Ellwood is mellow with Stout on “Chloe”. Drummers, like umpires, are best when you don’t notice them, and on this session, Gordy leads by setting the right background for the colorful portraits.

Matt Gordy is an elegant drummer whose subtle contributions perfectly complement the needs of his ensemble both with sticks and brushes. Musically he has travelled a long and winding road which includes performances with Aaron Copland, Pierre Boulez, Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Pops. His impressive resumé also features artists such as Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra Jnr., Tony Bennett, Brian Wilson and Mose Allison.

The drummer/composer/arranger Matt Gordy brings some exceptional help with him here, where this 2nd album as leader has the Jazz Tonite Sextet helping him flesh out 6 standards and 4 originals.

“Topsy” opens the listen with frisky drumming, quick bass lines and the soulful brass finding plenty of grooves, and “You And The Night And The Music” follows with carefully plucked bass alongside bright horns in the playful jazz climate.

“Chloe” lands in the middle and emits much beauty in a sublime delivery of warmth, while the title track showcases Sherry Williams’ expressive singing amid plenty of gorgeous balladry. “Soul Eyes”, one of the album’s best, then uses the horns, drums, and keys strategically in a timeless jazz demeanor.

“Wheatland” arrives near the end and moves with plenty of emotion and grace, and “Sunny” exits the listen upbeat and stylish, where the poetic singing pairs well with the textured musicianship.

Chris Colangelo plays bass, Ido Meshulam handles trombone, Alan Pasqua delivers keys, Jeff Ellwood brings his sax and Ron Stout’s trumpet and flugelhorn sure do complement Gordy’s impressive drumming and Williams’ sparing but effective singing, as swing and funk moments impress us, as does the more intimate areas of this exceptional effort.

My last CD, Eclipse, was from a live recording at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA. That was from 2000.  So it’s been awhile for this new project.  I wanted to use both originals and some standards with my own twist of arrangements. For tunes like You and the Night and the Music, Soul Eyes, Wheatland I took transcribed iconic solos and arranged them for the horns, mostly in unison. Spring Ahead is a contrafact of Spain by Chick Corea. Be With Me is based on Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You. I had been playing with Ron Stout, Ido Meshulam and Chris Colangelo for about 7-8 years.  Alan Pasqua I have known for 50 years since we attended NEC together.  Alan suggested Jeff Ellwood which was a great fit. Sherry Williams and I have worked together for the past 12 years,- an interview with me said Matt Gordy.

1 Topsy (5:20)
2 You and the Night and the Music (6:56)
3 Camouflage (5:04)
4 Spring Ahead (5:39)
5 Chloe (7:13)
6 Be with Me (5:50)
7 Soul Eyes (7:37)
8 My Shining Hour (6:07)
9 Wheatland (5:55)
10 Sunny (5:15)

Matt Gordy: drums;

Ron Stout: trumpet;

Jeff Ellwood: saxophone, tenor;

Ido Meshulam: trombone;

Alan Pasqua: piano;

Chris Colangelo: bass;

Sherry Williams: voice / vocals.

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

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