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Matt Mitchell: Fiction

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Matt Mitchell’s name began popping up on jazz radar screens around three years ago. His sideman work is distinctive and strong on notable records like Tim Berne’s Snakeoil and Dave Douglas’ Be Still. In 2011, the New York Times named him one of “Four Young Pianists on the Rise in the Jazz Scene.”

It is therefore surprising that Mitchell’s debut as a leader is spectacularly unattractive. When Fiction opens with the hammering, amusical cycles of “Veins,” you feel like you are being beaten over the head with something narrow and hard. You hope that “Veins” is only a confrontational prologue, intentionally annoying to get your attention. It isn’t. The whole record is knotty, dense, obsessive, noisy, relentless and cold as mathematics.

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