Matt Carter Octet – Read Between The Lines
(Ubuntu Music. Album review by Frank Griffith)
Pianist and arranger/composer, Matt Carter’s debut CD, Read Between The Lines is a refreshing and ambitious work in equal measure. His talented ensemble which includes members of his student cohort from the Royal Academy of Music (from where he recently graduated), all impress and shine both in their ensemble playing and soloing ability.
Carter’s title tune, sparkles particularly with its insistent second line beat laid down by drummer Luke Tomlinson. Harry Maund’s crispy and measured trombone gets the solo section off nicely. The leader’s fleet piano scores highly as well making this final track on the collection wrap things up with a bang.
Carter’s treatment of Neal Hefti’s Girl Talk is on the laid-back side, and much better for it. There is a good contrast here with the largely upbeat climate of the rest of the recording. It also shows the breadth of Carter’s skill in laying out the setting of this slightly kitschy 1960s classic. Paying homage, and yet dressing it up in more modern colours and textures.
Similarly, the inclusion of Gershwin’s They Can’t Take That Away From Me, displays a crafted yet looser ambience of this 1937 gem sung by Fred Astaire in the film, Shall We Dance.
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All the soloists acquit themselves with aplomb, with both Tom Smith’s alto sax and George Jefford’s trumpet in particularly good form throughout . If this were not enough, world class jazz flautist, Gareth Lockrane (who also teaches at RAM) cameos on three tunes adding plenty to the proceedings. He excels not only playing-wise (his outing on the title track is particularly gutsy and ferocious), but his undying and relentless supporting and guidance of young UK jazz talent should never go unnoticed.
With inspired solos amalgamated with colourful and distinctive pieces this is a most enjoyable new release to have emerged from the bedrock of new voices in UK Jazz in the third decade of the new millennium.