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Matt Garrison

by Jeff Nania on August 16, 2012


You know when you hear something really refreshing and you can’t stop listening to it? Matt Garrison’s sophomore release spun with me on my car rides for weeks because it just wouldn’t get dull. Each composition is a different adventure with its own surprises.

The enthralling original “Trajectory” showcases Garrison’s depth of personality. It comes out of thin air and sneaks its way into a meandering melody. Garrison’s solo breathes in all the right places and his lines are so matter-of-fact that it makes you feel like you are thinking them as you are listening to them.

Trumpeter Greg Gisbert lends his performing talents to the album, and also offers up a powerhouse of a tune called “Modern Man.” The melody is essentially two statements that work their way through a series of transpositions, but they pack a punch. The strong texture is achieved by the dense three-part horn harmony of Garrison on tenor sax, Gisbert on trumpet and Michael Dease on trombone, who also produced the album.

Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander also makes a guest appearance on Garrison’s tune “Interrupted.” The two tenors both make their mark as they state the melody, but as the solo section winds on and the two do in fact interrupt each other, it takes some careful listening to decipher who is who. Their tones are distinct, with Alexander’s clocking in slightly brighter than Garrison’s, but their lines begin to coalesce to a point that is ambiguous.

The haunting original “The Madness Within” begins the album and sets the pace with Garrison’s virtuosic chops, and the group interludes with decisive bass lines and rolling hi-hats.

Garrison’s music definitely deserves a listen and will leave you with a lot to absorb. A true joy.