June 1999

Matt Eakle
Flute Jazz
Acoustic Disc

Flutist Matt Eakle, when most will recognize from the David Grisman quartet, teams with guitarist Davis Ramey and bassist Harvie Swartz for his first recording. There's plenty here to get excited about.

All are leaders in their own right, but they express musical empathy for one another, a characteristic I feel compelled to point out since so many recordings are simply platforms for musical self-indulgence. Each shares ample opportunities for improvisational space, including the wonderfully rendered "A Simple Matter" and "Trouble Thoughts."

Except for interesting, if not compelling, takes on Cole Porter's "I Love You" and Keith Jarrett's "Memories for Tomorrow," the recording consists of mostly Eakle originals and offers excellent insight into his lilting lyricism. "Gran's Blues" opens the session and provides a graceful transition into "A Secret Love," which finds the trio pushing the harmony to the brink of implosion. Eakle brings poise to "Speak Low," a beautifully sculpted ballad that comes draped around an insistent Middle East groove. "Flute Jazz" ambles along with a West Coast swagger. "Monk Asks Billy for aSmoke" is a spooky, slightly mysterious composition that could prove excellent as a score for some low-budget French flick.

Originally published in June 1999

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