Bassist Matt Penman’s Collection Balanced and Fluid
Originally from New Zealand, bassist Matt Penman has lived in New York since 1995. His new collection, Good Question is reviewed by Mike Hobart for the Financial Times.
According to Hobart, Good Question “features a mix of lyrical themes, fluid solos, rococo unison riffs and firm bass counterpoints”.
“The good question of the title refers to the musical prompts that Penman brought into the studio to stimulate his musicians’ reactions and focus – ‘Much like having prescribed topics for conversation’ [he] says on the sleeve. But if the procedure sounds like a free-form experiment, nothing could be further from the truth,” Hobart writes.
“Penman’s themes are intricate, his scores are detailed and the firm bass counterpoints follow complex harmonic paths. The bassist worked with the eight-piece SF Jazz Collective for nearly a decade – he is the foundation of their retrospective-themed recent release Live: SF Jazz Center 2017 – and that band’s blend of showboating structures and flowing narratives, as well as drummer Obed Calvaire, feature here.
“The first and final compositions address the tensions between freedom, boundary and form. As the spirited solos on ‘Mr Right’ soar over precise, closed-form structures and the repeated melody of ‘Big Tent, Little Tent’ plays out over loose-limbed funk, the balance here is just right.”
Penman moved to the United States in 1994 to attend Berklee College of Music.
Original article by Mike Hobart, Financial Times, June 15, 2018.