Saturday, November 7, 2015

Matt Mitchell - Vista Accumulation

Matt Mitchell
Vista Accumulation

Chris Speed - Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Matt Mitchell - Piano
Chris Tordini - Bass
Dan Weiss - Drums

I like albums that take you somewhere, a journey, maybe to somewhere inside of yourself, or perhaps bringing back flashes of memories. This is what happens when I listen to Vista Accumulation, pianist Matt Mitchell’s new 2 CD set on Pi.

I was skeptical when I first heard about this project, primarily because two CD’s worth of material is ambitious for an artist I perceived as relatively new on the scene. However, Mitchell is 40 and has been featured on Tim Berne’s three ECM albums as well as with Dave Douglas’ quintet. I was also curious, because Mitchell fits in with so many diverse situations I wasn’t sure what I’d hear.

Vista Accumulation manages to sustain a mood and thematic unity over the course of 95 minutes, without exhausting the underlying ideas. His approach is an intriguing mix of impressionism and modern classical, and frankly there’s nothing overtly “jazzy” in his approach to his eight compositions. Lines unfold in an unhurried way, and the mostly medium tempos give the group time to explore the material, with Chris Speed’s clarinet a highlight. Chris Tordini and Dan Weiss create subtle, shifting patterns underneath, ripples spreading across the music.

Perhaps it’s fitting that I’m absorbing Vista as the seasons change from summer to fall. I can see the flashes of dark gold and amber, mixed in with dark greens and browns. It’s a story that is yet to fully unfold, and I’m ready for the next chapter.

Bonus: For an unintentionally amusing review of Vista Accumulation, go here.

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