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Matt Geraghty Project by Matt Geraghty Project

Matt Geraghty offers an eclectic range of influences on his recent album. The overall effect is a bit of a grab bag. The most compelling piece is Geraghty’s ‘Sevilla,’ the initial track, which is a synthesis of Spanish flamenco rhythms overlaid with a North African beat and cuts back and forth to New York Bebop. What makes this even more unusual is the introduction of a tabla and chants supplied by Bombay’s Kalyan Pathak. With a mix and match of themes it somehow all works. It’s hectic, but the overall effect is a tapestry of rich cultures and swirling bright colors.

But instead of working on these fascinating themes, the next track is a Brazilian jazz-pop piece which is more mundane than innovative. The territory explored on ‘A Procura’ is well trod and the tread duly worn, but on the next track called ‘Metamorfose’ has surprising promise. It starts in a similar manner as ‘A Procura’ but, as the title suggests, transforms itself into some very interesting cross-cultural jamming by the core band of bassist Geraghty, guitarist Neal Alger, pianist Ben Lewis, saxophonist Jon Irabagon, drummer Joe Adamik and Pathak. The journey starts in Brazil and then meanders to Spain and then the Middle East. It might have been wiser just to let this band go on longer than the seven minute track and see where else they can explore.

On ‘Turnaround,’ Geraghty strips things down to a core group for a welcome change of pace. It is a twelve bar blues that features a nice solo work by Geraghty with flashes of restrained brilliance from Alger. Exploring the famous ballad, ‘Naima,’ Geraghty adds a touch of bossa nova, but he fumbles because the jaunty rhythmic effect comes off sounding like Coltrane-lite. It’s breezy, but its soul has been expropriated. Imagine transforming ‘So What’ into a rumba and try to make that work. It’s a very difficult task.

Geraghty turns to Italian composer Andrea Morricone on ‘Cinema Paradiso.’ The simple and rich melody is played beautifully by Lewis and well complemented by Geraghty. Geraghty’s ‘Bassline to Bowery’ is straightforward and pleasant enough, while Miles Davis’ ‘Nardis’ is an appropriate way to complete this album with its Middles Eastern themes. Geraghty, Lewis and Adamik shine in this brief piano trio conclusion.

Overall, one has to applaud Geraghty for taking risks and attempting to fuse different cultures together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it needs more work.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Matt Geraghty Project
  • CD Title: Matt Geraghty Project
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Mozaic
  • Tracks: Sevilla, A Procura, Metamorfose, Turnaround, Naima, Cinema Paradiso, Bassline to Bowery, Nardis
  • Musicians: Matt Geraghty (bass, vocals), Neal Alger (guitar), Ben Lewis (piano, Rhodes), Jon Irabagon (saxophones), Joe Adamik (drums), Luciano Antonio (vocals), Kalyan Pathak (tabla, percussion, voice), Scott Anderson (guitar), Corey Redford (handclaps)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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