CD reviews

CD REVIEW: Matthew Read Trio – Anecdotes Vol. II

Matthew Read Trio – Anecdotes Vol. II
(BOD: 002. CD review by Nick Davies)

Mathew Read’s music has been described as a multitude of styles: jazz, folk, country, hip hop, dance, European and ‘American Church music’. It’s difficult at times to appreciate how a musician could take all these styles and produce a great sounding album. A listener might expect confusion or a mixture of melodies but, in Mathew’s case, this is not an issue. The end product is a record of contrasting rhythms that takes you on a journey into the musical mind of Read and the result is sublime.

Anecdotes Vol. II follows on from the trio’s debut release – Read’s response when asked about the record: “I decided to write music for the trio that told stories. I felt early on that this band was one that would respond well to slightly more left-field forms of inspiration than other bands.” Read’s music has been coined as the harmonious collaboration possible only by a Kendrick Lamar and Kurt Rosenwinkel collaboration.

This album sees Read reunited with Benedict Wood on guitar and Arthur Newell on drums. Each member of the band contributes by the playing rather than the writing. This is evident on track two: Many Roads Travelled. Woods’ guitar leads with Read’s bass, creating an entwining crescendo. This is then followed by a drum solo from Newell driving the beat even faster. Delivery is unusual but no less enjoyable.

Looking for an easy listen? Then I would suggest that this album is not for you. The music is complex and delivers Read’s ideas in an unfamiliar way. Most of the tracks start slow before picking up tempo. They are full of influences so, at one point, you are hearing jazz, then country, then folk; not easy on the ears but your reviewer is convinced that Read intended it to be that way… for the music connoisseur.

Case in point: track five, When She Leaves. Starting at a slow pace with the beat of Read’s bass, followed by the other instruments and maintaining that slow pace, it is the bass that dominates throughout this song. When the listener is expecting it to burst into life, it doesn’t. Instead, the track continues to mooch along, showcasing the superb, seamless interaction between all three musicians. They all have an understanding of Read’s ideas and deliver it in the way he would expect it to be heard. Music like this is rarely produced and, despite (or thanks to) its intensity, it is most enjoyable.

Overall, a really good album that pushes the boundaries. The sound is fresh and, amazingly, incorporates several ideas and genres into each of the 11 tracks. It is one of those records that takes a while to get used to but, when you do, the musical journey soon becomes a memorable one. The standard of music excellence suggests that Mathew Read will be snapped up by a discerning label in the near future. His musical genius is most deserving of that accolade.

LINK: Matthew Read interview

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