MP3 Matrix - Proud Flesh
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11 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, JAZZ: World Fusion
Matrix emerged in 1974 from the Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin) jazz program, where John Harmon was director of jazz studies. Among the charter members of the group were Larry Darling, Kurt Dietrich, Mike Hale and Jeff Pietrangelo. After paying dues in Midwestern clubs, Matrix's coming out party was at the 1976 Monterey Jazz Festival.
For the next three years, Matrix continued to gather praise as it toured the United States, making significant waves in the new style of jazz that dominated the 1970s. Along the way, through replacements, the band picked up Mike Murphy and John Kirchberger from Milwaukee, Brad McDougall (an Illinois native) from Miami, and Randy Tico from Santa Barbara. Peter "Herb" Butler was the world-class sound engineer. This group played again at Monterey, the Newport Jazz Festival in New York, and festivals from Chicago to Telluride, Wichita, Reno and Galveston. Matrix opened shows for or shared bills with virtually all of the "name" big bands of the day -- Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson -- and such diverse artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Weather Report, Pat Metheny and Joe Pass. There were engagements at jazz clubs from Miami to Seattle, New York to Santa Fe, and concerts and clinics at schools in most of the States of the Union. The band released four albums, for RCA, Warner Brothers and Pablo Records.
Reunions in 1992 and 2000 (when Tom Washatka filled in at the last minute and was promptly made a permanent member of the group) rekindled the wonderful times that the band had together making music in "the old days." But that wasn't enough. This long-standing "family" had to get its new music out to a larger public. Proud Flesh is the result of that renewal.
Review from the All Music Guide
The rock group Matrix made a splash at the 1976 Monterey Jazz Festival riding the crest of the highly amped sounds that laid the groundwork for the fusion movement of the 1970s. This is not the group's first reunion. In fact, one might call this the second-and-a-half gathering of the clan, with the first one taking place in 1992 and a mini one occurring in 2000. There is a carryover from the latter convocation with the first tune, "No, Seriously." The lines that distinguish a band such as Matrix from run-of-the-mill groups is that there is an effort (and with successful results here) to introduce some serious structure to the music rather than simply limiting it to mindless guitar riffs and an unrelenting backbeat. Tracks seven through ten, under the title "Proud Flesh (A Tribute to Miles Davis)," provide the opportunity to worship at the altar of a major jazz icon who moved in a similar direction during the 1970s. Some of these tracks get quite exotic.
Moreover, in addition to the electric Davis, with close listening one picks a lot of his collaboration with Gil Evans, such as that on Sketches of Spain. There is also a reference to basic elements that make up jazz, blues, and swing riffs coming through on "Reunion Dues." This track also allows plenty of space for Larry Darling on trumpet and John Harmon on piano. There is some good ensemble playing on this cut as well. And perhaps best of all, the drumming is not limited to the cloying, monotonous, monotone backbeat that characterizes similar groups to this day.
Recommended. Dave Nathan
in partnership with CDbaby (ID 448874)
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