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Midnight in Merizo by Matt Lawson Quintet

Matt Lawson’s "Midnight in Merizo" is a wonderfully, straight-ahead jazz album without any pretenses or posturing. This album reflects Lawson’s own sensibility. He was raised on a small fishing community called Mount Desert Island off the Maine coast. In a Louisville Magazine article, he stated that "we had a really good band director at my high school. He was a trumpet player who had been in the Navy Band and toured with some big names in jazz like Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman. There were only 450 people in the whole school and 120 of them were in the band." Accordingly, Lawson joined the Navy, toured the world and after his discharge was named outstanding soloist at the Maine State Jazz Festival. He stated that "I had more of a team mentality, and being in a band was akin to playing sports."

Hey, all of this shows in his music. Lawson has listened well and certainly has applied himself. His trumpet playing is absolutely gorgeous. There is a lovely combo effort and the music effortlessly flows. There is a lot of confidence in Lawson and his band’s playing. They are sharp and tightly consistent throughout the album. Bernstein’s ‘Some Other Time’ is a poignant example. This ballad is played with extreme sensitivity and deliberate care that it can bring tears to your eyes. It is like someone who trying to hold off and makes a determined effort at rationalization, but eventually cannot help the bitter sorrow and lets all the salty rain come dripping down, hands in head in a grey empty room.

"Midnight in Merizo" is a stunning first album.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Matt Lawson Quintet
  • CD Title: Midnight in Merizo
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: The Jazz Factory
  • Tracks: Domingo, Gwyn’s Dance, Midnight in Merizo, Escape from Gorham, Some Other Time, A Song that is Always There, Mahjong, Ablution
  • Musicians: Matt Lawson (trumpet & Flugelhorn), Jacob Duncan (alto saxophone), Tyronne Wheeler (bass), Steve Allee (piano), Jason Tiemann (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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