Bright and bouncy, Patchwork from saxophonist Matt Garrison takes audiences on a brisk ride through a series of uplifting atmospherics and reflective moods. His improvisations on the saxophone are buffered by intervals of melodic motifs that display charisma and fluidity. Joining Garrison is a team of musicians who endeavor to create widespread accord and harmony as vocalist Melissa Morgan draws the listener’s attention to the stories expressed in the lyrics in such numbers as “How Can I Be Sure?” and “When Eyes Meet” while keyboardist Nial Djuliarso injects bouts of spontaneity and sizzle. Blending elements of swing, blues, funk, and Latin jazz, Patchwork is a sonic montage with the glitter and glam of swing music’s nostalgic era and a pinch of modern blues.
The fancy-free spirit of the saxophone and sprinkling keys give “Fall for Me” an upbeat vibe as Morgan’s vocals display a natural ease across the melodic cuts. The horns in “Lonesome Tears” produce a heavy reverence resembling a mood of mourning as Scott Neumann’s drums beat slow and steady. The bluesy contours of Morgan’s vocals pervade a soulful intonation, which make audiences take notice of the track as the bowing lobes of Jay Azzolina’s guitar chords slice into the melodic sequences entangling tightly then releasing its taut grip. It’s a striking piece that drifts into the balladry swags chiseled by the horns along “Open to Your Advances” which shifts into flouncing rivulets along “First Flight” etching a Latin flare.
The bouncy atmospherics of “How Can I Be Sure?” is sustained by a berth of frolicking keys and a summery bounce in Garrison’s saxophone. The upbeat mood continues in “Steppin’s Up (and Steppin’ Around)” fusing bebop-imbued bass pumps and drumbeats with swing-clad horns and keys. The bluesy shading of “Vincent” is amplified by Morgan’s languid voicing, which adjusts to the samba-jazz grooves of “When Eyes Meet” and the breezy sweeps of “Ceora” propelling a tranquilizing vibe.
Patchwork is a culmination of multiple melodic patterns quilted together into a sonic montage that moves smoothly and cohesively. The compositions show indicators of Garrison’s musical influences, his education, and his experiences as a live performer. Patchwork is Garrison’s third album and a meaningful work of expressive improvisations meshed with scripted motifs that are all sonically attractive.
Matt Garrison – tenor, baritone, and soprano saxophones and flute, Melissa Morgan – vocals, Bruce Harris – trumpet and flugelhorn, Mark Williams – trombone, Nial Djuliarso – piano, Yasushi Nakamura – bass, Scott Neumann – drums, and Special Guests: Jay Azzolina – guitar, Andrew Swift – fretless electric bass, Jessica Aura Taskov – flute, Gizmordio Twizzletwackle – alto flute, Veroslav Taskov – oboe, David DeJesus – clarinet, and Steven Kieley – bass clarinet
How Can I Be Sure?, Steppin’ Up (and Steppin’ Around), Vincent, When Eyes Meet, Ceora, Fall for Me, Lonesome Tears, Open to Your Advances, First Flight