Master bassist and composer Matt Brewer has been making ‘heady’ art-filled jazz music across the last two decades as sideman and leader, and importantly as a writer, working with the likes of Dave Douglas, Christian McBride, Greg Osby, Brad Mehldau and many more. Most recently he’s been creating dizzyingly wonderful larger-ensemble workouts, but here it’s back to the trio format, and to a mix of re-imagined staples and his own originals.
Here the tunes sometimes go way out (Ornette Coleman’s Eos) and other times there’s passionate drive but it’s ultimately safe, very inside (Joe Henderson’s Afro-Centric).
Joining Brewer on this excursion the dynamic drummer Damion Reid (Robert Glasper) with his Billy Higgins-gleaned tiny explosions and saxophonist Mark Shim (Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer) who can effortlessly move from Coltrane-isms (Don’t Wake The Violent Baby) to Sonny Rollins’ wild, infectious grooving (Rj).
This trio is not to be fucked with – this trio couldn’t fuck up a tune if it even tried. There’s just a colossal collective wisdom at play here; a deep understanding of the pulse and groove that is required to drive this music with just enough breaks for reflection so that the relentlessness is given pause. The balladry of When Sunny Gets Blue for instance, or Brewer’s melodic meditation when he solos to slow down Willisee.
Frighteningly good jazz – the best I’ve heard in a while.
This one will be turning heads this year.
Utterly masterful, deeply inspiring.