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Matt Mitchell: Slow Motion

The pianist-composer's music rewards patient, perceptive listening

Reacting to the hectic pace and shortened attention spans of the modern age, the Slow Movement has arisen across a wide swathe of disciplines to celebrate the merits of taking one’s time. In dining, it rejects fast food and opts for locally sourced, homemade meals enjoyed in the company of others; in cinema, long takes and minimal action are favored over explosive blockbuster pacing.

Pianist-composer Matt Mitchell, 40, doesn’t profess to be a proponent of the Slow Movement per se, but Vista Accumulation (Pi), his second release as a leader, could certainly be seen as sympathetic to its goals. His ambitious compositions sprawl out over two densely packed CDs, several of the tracks topping 15 minutes and only one clocking in under eight minutes (and just barely). Like the best examples of Slow art, the impact of Mitchell’s music is often a result of its luxuriating in time, from allowing his and his bandmates’ ideas to unspool at their own pace.

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Originally Published

Shaun Brady

Shaun Brady is a Philadelphia-based journalist who covers jazz along with an eclectic array of arts, culture, and travel. Brady contributes regularly to the Philadelphia Inquirer and JazzTimes and Jazziz magazines, with subjects ranging from legendary artists to underground experimentalists. His byline has appeared in DownBeat, Metro, NPR Music, and The A.V. Club, among other outlets. He studied filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago and continues to spend too much time in the dark.