Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Matt Panayides, Electric Guitarist, and "Tapestries of Song"
How many guitarists are out there today? And how many of them can scare you with amazing technical feats of prowess? The answer is, as I once, stalling for time, replied to a college honors committee panel when asked how many years it has been since hominids first walked the earth, "very many, very many indeed." Yet how many of them have an original voice (the guitarists, not necessarily the hominids)? Not all that many.
There's a new fellow on the scene that may well quality, with a first album, Tapestries of Song (Pacific Coast Jazz 93423). His name is Matt Panayides. I wont rehearse the litany of people he has played with or the degrees he has obtained. He did and he did.
What matters is the music in the end. The first outing finds him in good company, in a quartet setting. Doing all Panayides originals. There's a strong presence from tenorman Rich Perry; the rock-steady, smart bass playing of Steve LaSpina; and one of my favorites in the "new" drummer category, Dan Weiss, who just about guarantees that a session will come together with the subtleties of good swinging polyvalent time.
This is a more or less straight-ahead date, but that doesn't mean that Matt and company play it safe.They do not. The music is changes-based for the most part; the pulse is almost always there someplace and the soloists concentrate on linear thrust, on stringing a coherent story-line together.
It is the strength of those solos that in part make this a notable outing. Matt has a pure, ringing, moderately amplified tone and he plays lines that do not remind one of anybody, and they make sense. Rich Perry plays a nicely together tenor in the contemporary mode, and he too does not rely upon the licks that can form a large part of the average date. The rhythm section compliments what's going on and adds substantially to the final result.
And Mr. Panayides writes some strong tunes that wear well and set up the soloing in a very good way. And he shows us that he may well be an important new voice on that most popular of instruments, if he keeps this up.
Strong music. Recommended. And good luck to Matt Panayides!