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Glimpses of Truth

Ivo Neame

Contemporary Jazz - Released November 26, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Solo

Will Vinson

Contemporary Jazz - Released November 19, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Friends with Monsters

Nishla Smith

Contemporary Jazz - Released November 12, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Ex Voto

Monocled Man

Contemporary Jazz - Released October 22, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Pittsburgh

Matthew Stevens

Contemporary Jazz - Released October 1, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Matthew Stevens is a Toronto-born, New York-based jazz guitarist. He is known to jazz fans as both a stylist and canny soloist. Stevens has worked extensively with trumpeter Christian Scott and Esperanza Spalding and more recently with Terri Lynne Carrington's Social Science band. He also co-leads the group that released In Common offerings with saxophonist Walter Smith III. Stevens has two previous leader dates -- Woodwork and Preverbal. Pittsburgh has no referent in his discography. The guitarist spent part of the COVID-19 lockdown in his wife's hometown of Pittsburgh, practicing on a recently purchased small-body, mahogany Martin 00-17. He was cutting short "starts" -- ideas and sketches that could be refined and expanded later. With assistance from his drummer and producer Eric Doob, he made preliminary versions of some of this material for The Jazz Gallery's virtual "Lockdown Sessions" video series, and a vision began articulating itself. While riding his bike, Stevens fell and broke his elbow. Encouraged by a physical therapist aunt to continue practicing immediately, no matter how difficult, his "starts," became fully realized compositions. Eleven of them appear on the 32-minute Pittsburgh. Stevens recorded them in two live sessions with a pair of Neumann U89 mics. Despite its brevity, Pittsburgh is an ambitious collection whose pieces often fall into groups. As evidenced by the investigative opener "Ambler" and later on in "Northern Touch," Stevens explores various tonal and timbral faculties across a warm field of scalar inquiry appended by occasional chord voicings. When contrasted with other material here, they can sound a bit outside yet are hardly inaccessible. There are also flashier, more athletic arpeggiated studies such as the glorious "Purpose of a Machine" and spiky "Can Am" that showcase Stevens' exquisite lyricism, while a reworking of the pastoral "Cocoon" (an earlier, more abstract, electric trio version appeared on 2017's Preverbal) juxtaposes open-tuned strummed chords and drones. Other pieces, including "Buckets," "Broke," and especially closer "Miserere," are hymn-like in tempo, cadence, and resonant harmonic assonance. Still others, such as the lilting "Foreign Ghosts," offer a melodic resonance that emerges like a tranquil pop ballad, while "Blue Blues" is a dramatic exercise in percussively arpeggiated acoustic wizardry and "Ending Is Beginning" explores circular single- and triple-note figures that evolve into more intimately detailed explorations of subtle color and texture. While some might disparage Pittsburgh's brief run time, it's actually optimal. Had these compositions been longer, they may not have sounded as intensely focused or bracing; if there were more of them, the album's impact might have been blunted. As it stands, Pittsburgh is warm and undeniably sharp. Each tune is distinct, cleverly written, and dazzlingly played. This is not only a fine entry in Stevens' catalog but a stellar addition to the jazz guitar canon. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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You Can't Take It with You

Chet Doxas

Contemporary Jazz - Released September 24, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Can Am

Matthew Stevens

Contemporary Jazz - Released September 21, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Age of Reason

SCOPES

Contemporary Jazz - Released September 10, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Lodestar (For Lester Young)

Chet Doxas

Contemporary Jazz - Released September 3, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Foreign Ghosts

Matthew Stevens

Contemporary Jazz - Released August 31, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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The Last Pier

Chet Doxas

Contemporary Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Blue Blues

Matthew Stevens

Contemporary Jazz - Released August 13, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Twelve Foot Blues

Chet Doxas

Contemporary Jazz - Released July 30, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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The Locomotive Suite

Francesco Ciniglio

Contemporary Jazz - Released July 16, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Samara Joy

Samara Joy

Contemporary Jazz - Released July 9, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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945 St. Nicholas Ave

Francesco Ciniglio

Contemporary Jazz - Released July 2, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Tales from the Jacquard

Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra

Contemporary Jazz - Released June 25, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Jim

Samara Joy

Contemporary Jazz - Released June 25, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Locomotive

Francesco Ciniglio

Contemporary Jazz - Released June 18, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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The Goose

Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra

Contemporary Jazz - Released June 8, 2021 | Whirlwind Recordings

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