Jazz Review: Matt Panayides Tapestries of Song
“Debut recording” and especially adjectives like “exploratory” and “visionary” typically set off warnings and start the red flags waving on my jazz radar. Follow those markers with phrases like “distinctive approach to music” and “uniquely personal voice on his instrument” scare the living daylights out of me and re-enforce my habit of not reading the press release before hearing the CD.
Matt Panayides is a guitarist/composer jazzman that hails from Cincinnati, was raised in Indianna, and had worked professionally in New York City for over ten years. Armed with degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and William Paterson University (both in jazz performance), Panayides is set to be typical of 21st Century jazz musicians. Fortunately for his listeners, his compositions are strongly influenced by traditional jazz.
Tapestries of Song includes well-known and highly competent sax man, Rich Perry, Steve LaSpina on bass, and drummer Dan Weiss. Panayides composed and arranged all eight tracks and plays guitar as well. The overall effort is a tight New York jazz sound.
“Seoul Soul” opens the disc and after several times through the entire eight tracks, this turned out to be one of my three favorites. It’s a swinging uptempo number written while Panayides lived in Korea. Track five is “Amalgamation” and to no surprise includes ample opportunity for each musician to improvise, develop themes and then combine for a satisfying conclusion. “Sketch” is an almost ten minute piece that again features improv work centered around a fast swing.
Thoughtful compositions, identifiable melodies (heads), clever improvisations from a contemporary composer. How much more traditional can you get?
Tapestries of Song hits the streets January 11, 2011.