Matthew Fries: Song For Today

Matthew Fries has been gigging around NYC for a while and Song for Today (TCB 20752; 61:58), with alto/soprano saxophonist Vincent Herring, trumpeter Bill Mobley, bassist Gregory Ryan and drummer Vinson Valega, is the sort of generic, mainstream jazz that can be heard seven nights a week in the Apple. It’s a competent, professional set with the obligatory waltz (“Arioso”), a Latin piece (“The Riddle”), a relaxed swinger (“Phineas”) and a soulful arrangement of a pop tune (“Fire and Rain”). Best moments come during the ethereal, floating “Prelude,” the hip Thad Jones composition “Trey of Hearts” and the closing unaccompanied rendition of “Lucky to Be Me,” in which the pianist’s personality starts to emerge (finally!).