Matt Adams Quartet
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Matt Adams Quartet

| SELF | AFM

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Apr
27
Matt Adams Quartet @ Park St. Tavern

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Mar
10
Matt Adams Quartet @ Park St. Tavern

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Feb
15
Matt Adams Quartet @ Dick's Den

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Columbus, Ohio, USA

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Matt Adams Quartet

It’s easy to hear saxophonist Matt Adams’ influences. There’s the edgy, visceral sound of his hero John Coltrane, the adventurousness of Dewey Redman, the phrasing of Joe Henderson, the freewheeling improvisations that recall Joe Lovano and, when he does ballads, the soulful approach of Ben Webster.
But Adams, whose quartet will perform Nov. 10 at Dick’s Den, has forged a sound of his own: dark, lyrical and imaginative.
“When I got to high school, I joined the jazz band, and that’s where I learned to make things up” says Adams, 33, who grew up in Navarre, Ohio. “But when I later heard Coltrane, that was it. I never heard a musician who touched me the way he does.”
“It’s his spirituality, and that’s what I try to put in my playing,” Adams says.
At a recent gig at Columbus Music Hall celebrating the release of Adams’ first CD, “Case in Point,” the quartet, which includes keyboardist Erik Augis, bassist Matt Paetsch and drummer Cedric Easton, showed off its strengths.
Adams did a version of Coltrane’s “Harmonique,” which is rarely ever played and features a wheezing fifth note. Adams’ original, “Banda Aceh,” written after the tsunami hit Indonesia but dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, was intimate and haunting.
“I really enjoy playing with these guys,” says Adams. “All the musicians in my band are willing to take chances. And if it does not work, at least we tried.”
Columbus jazz fans can also hear Adams playing in his other group, the New Basics Brass Band, which mixes jazz with second line funk, offering its own take on the sound of New Orleans groups such as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. - Columbus Business First


I wasn't so sure about writing these notes for Matt when he first requested them. I wouldn't want to show too much favoritism among the alumni. In this case, I told Matt I would consider doing so only after getting to hear the material, but the fact is I cannot resist bragging on Matt and his music. Regardless of my own biases I am still impressed by the level of maturity and insight I am sensing as I listen and write here and now to Matt Adam's Case In Point.


Matt's tone has some qualities offering a slight edge, but there is a warmth and maturity which nicely convey the history of the instrument. Actually I have made comparisons to Matt's sound to that of Charles Lloyd and others since before he may have known who they were, but I know he has done his share of listening. Thus many years after Matt's graduation from the Conservatory, it is not so much his technical achievement on the instrument that strikes me (although I detect a healthy amount of that), but it is really the emotional element in his playing that really blows me away. It must be like seeing one's own child emerging fully grown suddenly before one's eyes; that is how this impacts my ears. Utilizing the amazing history of the tenor sax is a tall order for anyone, yet Matt has paid his dues and plays enough of this history to have made it "in the door,"? and he is well on his way. As I listen intently I think I can honestly make an assessment which leads me to believe he followed every suggestion I ever could have made, but more to "the point"? (to which Matt refers his "case" here), he has come up with his own direction, followed his own heart, and truly found his own voice. I think the listener will agree that Matt Adams' voice on the saxophone, as evidenced on this recording, is one to behold.

Matt's choice of material here, some in the standard quartet setting with the balance in the "chordless"? trio format, is a beautiful set of original compositions, neatly arranged standards and some requisite "swingers" thrown in for good measure, with all band members contributing mightily. The originals here include poignant melodies which speak of things youthful yet timeless, and the jazz standards place Matt and the members of his quartet in charge of their craft and in the midst of the timeless creativity most unmistakable as modern jazz. Theme for Ernie is approached here in loping, matter-of-fact fashion, Sam McCoy and Chris Haney laying down solid time while the listener's ears perhaps move directly to Matt's enunciations and explorations on the tenor. A clever urban-latin groove sets up, to pleasant surprise, Blue Moon, then before too long the happy-go-lucky bridge leads to the arrival of "Coltrane turnarounds."? "Tenor saxophonist as thinker" mirrors the modern singer as poet; (Man Has Dream ...) Dream Comes True speaks lushly here of gratitude or longing. Speaking of turnarounds, I'll leave the listener to solve the contrafactual mystery of She Ain't All That, the resident "head tune,"? or new line over an older tune. (Hint: The words to the bridge on the model tune state, "And all at once I lost my breath, and all at once was scared to death, and all at once I owned the Earth and sky." You might not guess that it's a newer voice for Matt on soprano saxophone during The Good Dog, another original with an urgently moving groove at its center, but the sound is a fresh extension of Matt's fine tenor work. Thelonious Monk's Work proves an effective vehicle for the trio setting with a Chris Haney solo as its centerpiece, preceded by Matt taking the changes through the paces and Sam punctuating the intro and coda. You can hear the compassion in Banda Aceh, Matt's requiem for victims of the recent Tsunami, as he pays tribute without undue complexity, using the soprano as an instrument of reverent ritual. On the set's "rhythm changes" tune, Nobody's Got Nothin', sound engineer Mike Sim grabs his own tenor and joins in with some solid "Lovanoesque"? musings, providing an effective rival for Matt's harder-edged approach. Autumn's Hope seems to come from further reference to Trane's softer side, yet here Matt forces nothing, allowing things to move naturally while he acts as melodic colorist to the scene, and pianist Rick Germanson integrates solid bop lineage. The contrast of the Love Is A Many Splendored Thing verse intro, rubato style, with the up tempo chorus and blowing would nicely sum-up Matt's attainments at either extreme of the modern musician's world, i.e. the duality of both the quietest and most tumultuous or exhaltant of expressions. Kiki is as catchy a little riff as you'll hear, yet it's function is to prepare you for as solid a tribute to Sonny Rollins as one can imagine. The unmistakable mood of My Little Brown Book sends us on our way quietly with a nice puff of air.

When I joined the faculty at the Conservatory of Music at Capital University in 1990, Matt Adams was among the incoming class of - Matt Adams Music


I wasn't so sure about writing these notes for Matt when he first requested them. I wouldn't want to show too much favoritism among the alumni. In this case, I told Matt I would consider doing so only after getting to hear the material, but the fact is I cannot resist bragging on Matt and his music. Regardless of my own biases I am still impressed by the level of maturity and insight I am sensing as I listen and write here and now to Matt Adam's Case In Point.


Matt's tone has some qualities offering a slight edge, but there is a warmth and maturity which nicely convey the history of the instrument. Actually I have made comparisons to Matt's sound to that of Charles Lloyd and others since before he may have known who they were, but I know he has done his share of listening. Thus many years after Matt's graduation from the Conservatory, it is not so much his technical achievement on the instrument that strikes me (although I detect a healthy amount of that), but it is really the emotional element in his playing that really blows me away. It must be like seeing one's own child emerging fully grown suddenly before one's eyes; that is how this impacts my ears. Utilizing the amazing history of the tenor sax is a tall order for anyone, yet Matt has paid his dues and plays enough of this history to have made it "in the door,"? and he is well on his way. As I listen intently I think I can honestly make an assessment which leads me to believe he followed every suggestion I ever could have made, but more to "the point"? (to which Matt refers his "case" here), he has come up with his own direction, followed his own heart, and truly found his own voice. I think the listener will agree that Matt Adams' voice on the saxophone, as evidenced on this recording, is one to behold.

Matt's choice of material here, some in the standard quartet setting with the balance in the "chordless"? trio format, is a beautiful set of original compositions, neatly arranged standards and some requisite "swingers" thrown in for good measure, with all band members contributing mightily. The originals here include poignant melodies which speak of things youthful yet timeless, and the jazz standards place Matt and the members of his quartet in charge of their craft and in the midst of the timeless creativity most unmistakable as modern jazz. Theme for Ernie is approached here in loping, matter-of-fact fashion, Sam McCoy and Chris Haney laying down solid time while the listener's ears perhaps move directly to Matt's enunciations and explorations on the tenor. A clever urban-latin groove sets up, to pleasant surprise, Blue Moon, then before too long the happy-go-lucky bridge leads to the arrival of "Coltrane turnarounds."? "Tenor saxophonist as thinker" mirrors the modern singer as poet; (Man Has Dream ...) Dream Comes True speaks lushly here of gratitude or longing. Speaking of turnarounds, I'll leave the listener to solve the contrafactual mystery of She Ain't All That, the resident "head tune,"? or new line over an older tune. (Hint: The words to the bridge on the model tune state, "And all at once I lost my breath, and all at once was scared to death, and all at once I owned the Earth and sky." You might not guess that it's a newer voice for Matt on soprano saxophone during The Good Dog, another original with an urgently moving groove at its center, but the sound is a fresh extension of Matt's fine tenor work. Thelonious Monk's Work proves an effective vehicle for the trio setting with a Chris Haney solo as its centerpiece, preceded by Matt taking the changes through the paces and Sam punctuating the intro and coda. You can hear the compassion in Banda Aceh, Matt's requiem for victims of the recent Tsunami, as he pays tribute without undue complexity, using the soprano as an instrument of reverent ritual. On the set's "rhythm changes" tune, Nobody's Got Nothin', sound engineer Mike Sim grabs his own tenor and joins in with some solid "Lovanoesque"? musings, providing an effective rival for Matt's harder-edged approach. Autumn's Hope seems to come from further reference to Trane's softer side, yet here Matt forces nothing, allowing things to move naturally while he acts as melodic colorist to the scene, and pianist Rick Germanson integrates solid bop lineage. The contrast of the Love Is A Many Splendored Thing verse intro, rubato style, with the up tempo chorus and blowing would nicely sum-up Matt's attainments at either extreme of the modern musician's world, i.e. the duality of both the quietest and most tumultuous or exhaltant of expressions. Kiki is as catchy a little riff as you'll hear, yet it's function is to prepare you for as solid a tribute to Sonny Rollins as one can imagine. The unmistakable mood of My Little Brown Book sends us on our way quietly with a nice puff of air.

When I joined the faculty at the Conservatory of Music at Capital University in 1990, Matt Adams was among the incoming class of - Matt Adams Music


First impressions are not always the most important - just ask saxophonist Matt Adams.

When his high school band director lent him a copy of John Coltrane's My Favorite Things, Adams was not impressed. "I didn't really know anything about jazz then,"? Adams says. He also didn't know that he would soon be a disciple of the jazz giant.

"The first time I heard Coltrane play on 'Someday my Prince Will Come' was definitely kind of an epiphany for me of what the tenor saxophone could do," Adams says. Since then, Adams has absorbed much of Coltrane's music, as well as other iconic figures. Although he admires Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and the like, Coltrane remains the most fascinating to him. "I know it sounds cliche, but I love the spirituality of his music,"? says Adams. "There's nobody on any instrument or in any genre that touches me like his music does."?

Adams will strive to bring a similar energy to his own playing when his quartet lands at Pacchia this Friday night. The group of Columbus musicians will include keyboardist Erik Augis, bassist Matt Paetsch, drummer Paul Francis, and Adams on tenor and soprano saxophones.

Adams acknowledges the overwhelming influence that Coltrane has been on him, but he's not content to be another carbon-copy tenor player. One way Adams tries to break from the pack is through composing his own music. "I make a conscious effort to be different,"? Adams says of his writing. "It's grounded in 50's and 60's bop music, but it's forward looking - a new take on it."? He says he tries to take a systematic approach, but he's most successful when a melody naturally comes to him. That melody becomes the foundation for a harmonic progression and may lead to other ideas as well.

Adams has been working harder lately at composition, in preparation for recording an album next month in New York. He's hoping his ideas will be different enough for record labels to take notice.

At one time a bookstore employee and flower deliverer, he now earns his living leading his own quartet and teaching saxophone. Adams also plays with the New Basics Brass Band, and a variety of other players in the Columbus area.

"It's a good life,"? Adams says of his current lifestyle, but acknowledges he would like to do more playing and writing. "I just want to play the horn every night for people,"? Adams says. And he hopes to make a great impression while doing it.
- Dayton Daily News


First impressions are not always the most important - just ask saxophonist Matt Adams.

When his high school band director lent him a copy of John Coltrane's My Favorite Things, Adams was not impressed. "I didn't really know anything about jazz then,"? Adams says. He also didn't know that he would soon be a disciple of the jazz giant.

"The first time I heard Coltrane play on 'Someday my Prince Will Come' was definitely kind of an epiphany for me of what the tenor saxophone could do," Adams says. Since then, Adams has absorbed much of Coltrane's music, as well as other iconic figures. Although he admires Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and the like, Coltrane remains the most fascinating to him. "I know it sounds cliche, but I love the spirituality of his music,"? says Adams. "There's nobody on any instrument or in any genre that touches me like his music does."?

Adams will strive to bring a similar energy to his own playing when his quartet lands at Pacchia this Friday night. The group of Columbus musicians will include keyboardist Erik Augis, bassist Matt Paetsch, drummer Paul Francis, and Adams on tenor and soprano saxophones.

Adams acknowledges the overwhelming influence that Coltrane has been on him, but he's not content to be another carbon-copy tenor player. One way Adams tries to break from the pack is through composing his own music. "I make a conscious effort to be different,"? Adams says of his writing. "It's grounded in 50's and 60's bop music, but it's forward looking - a new take on it."? He says he tries to take a systematic approach, but he's most successful when a melody naturally comes to him. That melody becomes the foundation for a harmonic progression and may lead to other ideas as well.

Adams has been working harder lately at composition, in preparation for recording an album next month in New York. He's hoping his ideas will be different enough for record labels to take notice.

At one time a bookstore employee and flower deliverer, he now earns his living leading his own quartet and teaching saxophone. Adams also plays with the New Basics Brass Band, and a variety of other players in the Columbus area.

"It's a good life,"? Adams says of his current lifestyle, but acknowledges he would like to do more playing and writing. "I just want to play the horn every night for people,"? Adams says. And he hopes to make a great impression while doing it.
- Dayton Daily News


Discography

Matt Adams Quartet - Case in Point CD
New Basics Brass Band - Good Times are Likely CD
New Basics Brass Band - Shake Christmas EP

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Bio

Matt Adams is very active in the Central Ohio area as a saxophonist, composer, arranger and bandleader. His first CD, Case in Point, has just been recorded and very recently released, drawing comparisons to John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Joe Henderson, and Sonny Rollins. From new takes on timeless standards to hard-driving originals and tender ballads, Case in Point covers all the bases of what a jazz record should be.

A 1994 graduate of Capital University, Matt has been on the scene ever since, playing with the likes of Branford Marsalis, Bootsy Collins, The Temptations, Bobby Vinton, Vaughn Weister's Famous Jazz Orchestra, The New Basics Brass Band, Madrugada, Brasillera, and his own Matt Adams Quartet, to name but a few.