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Matt Gordy Group: Eclipse

Eclipse is a class act in all respects. This live set features well conceived, often daring charts; intelligent solo work over a percolating rhythm section; and an outstanding, hard-edged quintet featuring standard bop instrumentation: trumpeter Phil Grenadier, alto saxophonist Marc Phaneuf, pianist Ben Cook, bassist Todd Baker and leader and drummer Matt Gordy, who wrote most of the material.

The writing sparkles, especially “Proko,” an homage in 3/4 to Russian composer Prokofiev-Sergei’s reaction would have been interesting. The title tune is a 4/4 makeover of Irving Berlin’s waltz, “What’ll I Do?”-with some repairs to the bridge. “Night on the Island” keeps you off center with its 5/4 signature. Cook’s impressionistic reading of “Young and Foolish” is a tribute to Bill Evans and evolves into delicious straightahead jazz.

Grenadier and Phaneuf listen to each other, maintaining good unison despite some awkward bop lines, and they flirt with atonality in free episodes. Baker walks firmly and provides good ostinato jabs.

Gordy knows how to goose his players to internal climaxes that erupt like solar flares. But he always lets you down again, gently, without sacrificing the swing.

Originally Published