Friday, March 14, 2014

The Matthew Finck-Jonathan Ball Project, It's Not That Far

Matthew Finck, guitarist in the afterimage of Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino and beyond, in chording and lining, a monster of sorts...Jonathan Ball, a saxman (mostly tenor) of excellent tone and soul, hip and well in advance of a copycat mode. They collaborate to excellent advantage on the Matthew Finck-Jonathan Ball Project. Their album is called It's Not That Far (self-released).

It brings together the prodigious tuneweaving and playing of Jonathan and Matthew, adds trumpet-flugel master Randy Brecker for three cuts, and backs it all up with a very swinging rhythm section of Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum, bass and drums.

What is cool is how they channel the hard bop tradition to a contemporary world. This is real-deal driving jazz. Finck is a heavy and Ball stays with him all the way. The band and the tunes are something you appreciate more and more as you listen--or I did at least. If you are a guitarist Finck is going to kill you on all kinds of levels. But it isn't "just" a guitarist's album--it's for the music, it's for all the cats here and what they do. Ball makes me smile when he plays. Because he has the interesting notes and the hip sound. He and Jonathan are a matched set.

More! Encore!

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