Recommended: Matt Smith Neu Jazz Trio – “I.Am.Calm.”


The music of the Matt Smith Neu Jazz Trio often comes wound pretty tight.  Melodies have an intense focus that are just as likely to propel the music ahead as their equally propulsive tempos.  This is a good thing, and while it’s not an uncommon trait amongst modern piano trios, it doesn’t always get delivered with such an effective punch.  Their new album, however, sees the trio opening things up a bit, and settling into a less severe flow.  The primary attribution for the change on I.Am.Calm. has to be the addition of tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens and trumpeter Curtis Taylor.  Both musicians certainly have the capability to get an existing level of intensity to spike even higher, but it’s refreshing to hear Smith let the lyricism dictate the pace.  Yes, there are still moments of frenzy, as with “Inter” and “Tense.”  But the casual grace and sharp dialog of title-track “I.Am.Calm.“ and “Macks Mission“ are a welcome change of pace.  The hard bop “Glut” and the ballad “Southwest” are just more opportunities to stretch out, and the trio plus two take full advantage.

Just a solid album.  You really can’t go wrong scooping this one up.

Your album personnel:  Matthew Elton Smith (drums), Ed Kornhauser (piano), Mackenzie Leighton (bass), Dayna Stephens (tenor sax, EWI) and Curtis Taylor (trumpet).

This album is Self-Produced.

Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from San Diego, California.

Available at:  Bandcamp