By Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz.com
Matt Jorgensen + 451 has created a distinctive music, a free flying jazz sound with a 1960s rock sensibility, bursting with enormous chops. It’s a mix of Ryan Burns‘ often out there, Jimi Hendix-ian keyboard work (wailing on Fender Rhodes, organ and Moog ), Mark Tayor‘s bite-of-lime saxophone tang, Jorgensen’s multi-layered percussion complexities and Phil Sparks‘ deep in the pocket bass work. Mix it up and it’s unmistakable on the blindfold test.
The group is a rhythm section and saxophone, but it sounds like no other. No one playing in this format—with the exception of perhaps Vijay Iyer—has crafted a more distinctive jazz identity.
Another Morning is a big step forward from the excellent Hope (Origin Records, 2004). There’s a more on-the-edge feeling to the music, the approach a bit more unfettered. The musicians have grown and the sound has evolved in the direction of urgency and adventure.
Opening with “New Beginnings,” Burns’ reverent organ goes to church. Then flip the light switch, and Matt Jorgensen + 451 blows in, very much in a democratic mode, joined by guest trumpeter Thomas Marriott.
The jazz/rock aesthetic comes in large part from Burns, for whom there are no limits to the noises made on his keyboards. Aiding the effort is guest guitarist Jason Goessl on the Matt Jorgensen/Jeff McSpadden-penned “Sweet Pea.” The keyboard and guitar sound like competing blacksmiths trading metallic hammer blows in front of Jorgensen’s industrial percussion groove.
The sixties atmosphere is bolstered by two covers of rock songs: The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter”—one of the more raucous tunes from their white album, The Beatles (Apple Records, 1968)—and Neil Young’s protest over the 1970 Kent State killings, “Ohio,” that again features Goessl, sounding crunchy and quite Neil Young-ish.
It’s been a four-year span between 2004’s Hope and 2008’s Another Morning, but Matt Jorgensen + 451 have made it worth the wait. Another fine and distinctive outing, with the adventure factor up a couple of notches.