Best of 2017 #24: Matt Otto with Ensemble Iberica – “Iberica” (Origin Records)


That Matt Otto’s collaboration with Ensemble Ibérica is drop-dead gorgeous doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but it is remarkable just how welcoming a personality it possesses.  When confronted with beauty set to stun, the tendency is to experience it from a distance… a sort of defensive detachment meant to open lines of communication that might otherwise be overwhelmed by the emotional reaction.  That posture isn’t necessary on Ibérica.  The tenor saxophonist and Spanish music ensemble bring a peaceful seaside ambiance to music that might otherwise turn out the lights.  The use of instruments like oud, steel guitar, cavaquinho, cello and Cuban tres speak to the album’s rich personality, and the many avenues at its disposal to express all that beauty.

Music from Kansas City, MO.

Read more about the album on Bird is the Worm.