Matt Panayides – Tapestries of Song – Pacific Coast Jazz

by | Jan 20, 2011 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Matt Panayides – Tapestries of Song – Pacific Coast Jazz PJ93423, 59:35 ****:

(Matt Panayides – guitar & producer; Rich Perry – tenor saxophone; Steve LaSpina – bass; Dan Weiss – drums)

Guitarist Matt Panayides has been on the New York City jazz scene for more than a decade, performing with Clark Terry, Mulgrew Miller, Jane Monheit and others. While it has taken time for Panayides’ hour-long debut record, Tapestries of Song, to finally be released, the results show Panayides is a top-notch composer and player ready for his spotlight. For his first outing as a leader, Panayides employs a formidable New York City foursome: tenor saxophonist Rich Perry (who has extensive credits going back to the mid-1970s as well as many solo albums), bassist Steve LaSpina (who has been part of the Big Apple jazz community since the late seventies, has joined forces with everyone from Marian McPartland to Stan Getz and also has numerous projects under his own name) and drummer Dan Weiss, the youngest quartet member, who has worked with Lee Konitz, Rudresh Mahanthapa and Chris Potter and has a few solo endeavors under his belt.

For the most part, Panayides’ eight compositions are influenced by traditional jazz, underscored by unusual time signatures, a clean and clear guitar tone and ample opportunity for the seasoned veterans to improvise.

Panayides spent a few years living overseas in Korea and his thoughts and viewpoints on cultural experiences are shadowed on two cuts. The upbeat “Seoul Soul” is a fast and swinging affair where Panayides breaks up the conventional 12-bar phrases in unique ways. Panayides’ energetic guitar lines spark equally animated élan from Perry, who treats listeners to a dominating, post-bop solo departure. “Different Place,” penned after Panayides returned stateside, is a meditative sampling of the guitarist’s perspective on citizenship and identity. The track starts with an extended guitar solo and then the quartet enters, building up with prudent elements. Hope creeps in when Panayides and Perry offer assured improvisations.

Social commentary pervades two other tunes. The financial diatribe “Why Bail Them Out?” is a slightly avant funk run-through originally written for Panayides’ organ trio. LaSpina provides a sixteenth note groove while Panayides and Perry present an alternating melody that is poised against Weiss’ fragmented rhythms that become pervasive during his solo. “Freedom’s Illusion” is one of Panayides oldest creations and has been in his set list for years. It features a likable 7/4 rhythm and open chord changes that let each musician stretch out. Perry showcases his lyrical touch as Panayides delivers a simmering undercurrent that becomes attention-getting when he serves up a lengthy solo.

The material that yields maximum interest is “Amalgamation” and “Sketch.” The first tune combines various ideas into an absorbing whole, including a memorable groove, a discordant vibe – Panayides reaches into Larry Coryell territory at one point – and an enigmatically intriguing melodic line. The cooperative foray “Sketch” opens with beautiful solo guitar and then the full quartet joins in and gradually the arrangement develops from a leisurely pace to a rapid spin that softens considerably when LaSpina executes an unaccompanied bass solo that displays just why he is an in-demand sideman.

TrackList:

1. Seoul Soul
2. Out of My Hands
3. Why Bail Them Out?
4. Different Place
5. Amalgamation
6. Freedom’s Illusion
7. Sketch
8. Walking Across a Bridge (with No Money)

— Doug Simpson

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