Mosaic
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Mosaic

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Band Jazz Avant-garde

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"Unsaid, Undone"

By: Edward Blanco

Playing a variety of post bop, avant-garde and Afro-Cuban rhythms, Mosaic is percussive quintet that makes their recording debut with a feverish sound on Unsaid, Undone. With the sizzling rendition of Wayne Shorter tune “Sightseeing,” being the only jazz standard on the CD, Mosaic offers a collection of six assertive originals and makes quite an impression not only with their compositions but also with their musicianship. The quintet features two players that beat the cowhide with Mark Merella on the drums and percussions and David Font on strictly percussions. The others include Matt Belzer on the reeds, Ned Judy on keyboards and Larry Melton on bass.

Save for the title track, which has that avant-garde/ world music style making it intricate and harder to follow, the rest of the music is quite engaging and full of percussive energy.

The first two pieces (“Seconds Out” and “Knew One”), both Ned Judy compositions, seem to open up the music with expressive melodies that convey the message that you’re in for a new ride in jazz music. “Hikaru’s Dance” presents Judy with one of his best solo opportunities and features Belzer on a mean alto saxophone dance of his own. Other standout numbers include “Speak Down,” and the only light jazz piece on the album, “Under the Sun.”

Saxophonist Belzer is a monster on the reeds delivering spicy solos on the alto and soprano sax, the clarinets and alto flute throughout. Judy also weighs in with his play, but it’s the percussive rhythm section that marks the album. Unsaid, Undone provides a mosaic of interesting jazz sounds collectively imparted by a new group of guys you may not have heard of but may be impressed with once you give this one a spin. - ejazznews


"Entirely creditable East Coast indie jazz session sometimes approaching brilliance."

By Jan Dennis

The star here is Matt Belzer, leader, main composer, and most prominent soloist. Though he’s proficient on a variety of wind instruments, I greatly prefer him on alto sax. Check out his burning/lilting work on “Sightseeing,” the seldom-recorded Wayne Shorter tune, which is also the longest, groovin’est, and most satisfying tune on the disc. Belzer also makes a strong impression on clarinet on the title cut, “Unsaid, Undone,” the most “out” of the numbers, and also the most interesting, with its angular melody, fidgety percussion, and spooky keyboard voicings.

Ned Judy on piano and keyboards also shines. Note his harmonically rich and rhythmically sophisticated solo on “Unsaid, Undone,” the driving, weighty, almost plodding pianisms he unleashes for “Knew One,” and intelligent comping on the burner, “Speak Down.” His deft Rhodes solo on “Hikaru’s Dance” glides and capers melding Oriental and European sensibilities on this beguiling waltz, punctuated by apposite percussion courtesy of Merella and Font.

This is one of those discs where it takes a while for the band to get the kinks out and find its groove, but when it does, the payoff is huge. Unsaid, Undone also illustrates one of the great ironies of jazz: to play this music even just competently demands some serious chops and lots of woodshedding; to play it exceptionally requires something approaching genius. Yet, no matter how high the level of pure musical accomplishment, jazz seldom finds itself even on the horizon of popular culture, let alone at its center. These guys play jazz with passion and occasional brilliance. Look for great things in the future if they can manage to survive the vagaries and vicissitudes of the wild and wooly world of jazz. - Audiophile Audition


"Unsaid, Undone"

The opening track, "Seconds Out", begins with a Latin vibe that might have paved the way for what to expect on Mosaic Unsaid, Undone (Snack) but instead it's a brief taste of what one can find in their musical trick bag. This quintet (Mark Merella on drums, David Font on percussion, Larry Melton on bass, Matt Belzer on winds, and Ned Judy on keyboards) pay thrilling jazz that takes on the intensity of bebop, the best qualities of smoothed out jazz from the 70's, and other derivatives of jazz and turn it into something that is very much their moniker.

Their love of worldly sounds can be heard in each of the songs, and it's nice to hear them pushing each other with and within each song, the drive is there throughout. "Knew One", "Hikaru's Dance", and "Under The Sun" are each a display of fine musicianship, and even something as laid back as "Knew One" can be a thrill to listen to as it goes on. The reason why this music sounds almost perfect is due to the countless artists each musician has played with and/or backed up over the years, there is a sense of clarity and purpose. Yet with that clarity and purpose they open the door of opportunity and let things come as they may. Don't think of something as watered down as the Yellowjackets, think more along the lines of McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, or the late Michael Brecker. Their version of Wayne Shorter's "Sightseeing" does the song justice and even as it clocks in at close to ten minutes, it's still not enough. Everyone in Mosaic is so caught up with the song and with each other that it's obvious they were having an incredible time in the studio.

- The Run-Off Groove


Discography

Unsaid, Undone (Snack Records) - radio airplay currently charting nationwide. Publicity and radio promotion through Kari-On Productions

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Bio

Mosaic’s Unsaid, Undone is the culmination of many years’ work. The title track, a late addition to the album, began its life as a punk rock tune, then as a chamber music piece, then finally the avant-world curiosity that it has become. That’s probably why there’s a clarinet, a brake drum and a toy piano on that track.

Most of the members of Mosaic have known each other practically their whole lives, developing a shared aesthetic and a sense of musical telepathy. As a group and individually, they have explored music as wide ranging as ragtime, electronic avant-garde, Afro-Cuban, indie rock, post-bop and modern classical. As part of various separate projects, they have toured all over the world and brought those experiences into the group.

The main thing about Mosaic is the emphasis on original music. With several composers in the group, there is no shortage of new material. Unsaid, Undone is all originals with the exception of Weather Report’s Sightseeing, and even that has been given a few twists. Member accolades include honors from Downbeat Magazine, The Jazz Composers Alliance, numerous grants and Rhythm Road tours through Lincoln Center and the U.S. Department of State.