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Becoming Quintet: Five One-Track Minds

The debut album by a group of promising Michigan State alums has a singular focus

Becoming Quintet
Becoming Quintet (L to R): Luther Allison, Eric Wortzman, Liany Mateo, Markus Howell, and Zach Adleman (photo: Anna Yatskevich)

Their unsullied positivity and demonstrable zeal are inherent in the name of their band, Becoming Quintet. “We’re all young, we’re all trying to become something. We’re going through the rites of passage and paying our dues as jazz musicians, constantly growing and evolving,” upright bassist Liany Mateo says about their choice of appellation.

The band members—Mateo, trumpeter Eric Wortzman, saxophonist/flutist Markus Howell, pianist Luther Allison, and drummer Zach Adleman—met as students at Michigan State University. Each studied with Michael Dease, associate professor of jazz trombone at Michigan State and a Grammy-winning recording artist for Posi-Tone Records. Dease brought the five musicians to the attention of Marc Free, the label’s founder and resident producer. Free took the young players—they’re all still in their twenties—under his wing and produced their debut album, One-Track Mind. That title too was carefully considered.

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