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Push by Matt Newton

Push, the Matt Newton debut recording as a leader, not only highlights his accomplished piano playing, but also his skill as a composer. The record is made up of eight tracks, all original Matt Newton compositions. The saxophone playing of Petr Cancura is one of the strong points, up front and powerful. The music is based on bebop and post-bop styling and is sophisticated and intense.

Opening in melodic splendor with "Take Aim," a ballad that flows smoothly with catchy saxophone phrasing and fine piano playing. The song sets the mood for listening pleasure, building in dynamics to a wildly exciting section that returns to the opening for the finale. The rhythm section is firmly planted by bassist Mark McIntyre leaving the song open for Ethan Ardelli to add drumming of free form style in tastefully complimenting the saxophone playing of Petr Cancura.

Push glides from song to song with all members of the band contributing strongly in each number and providing a cohesive sound. "Where To?" opens with a drum introduction. Mr. Ardelli lays down a firm direction, the band jumps on board and in a post-bop style, the song unfolds with piano and saxophone giving rise to serious comping.

The title track is another ballad that features fine piano playing by Matt Newton with wonderful dynamics, thoughtful phrasing, passionate and intense playing. The saxophone playing of Petr Cancura takes over for the climax with raw powerful playing that jumps out at the listener.

Push is a strong performance, a debut record by Matt Newton that deserves more attention. This is a quartet that plays as a tight unit, an intense musical experience.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Matt Newton
  • CD Title: Push
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Tracks: Take Aim, Second Wind, Through Valleys, Where To?, Tides To The Mainland, Push, Hymn For Kim, Blue (the colour)
  • Musicians: Matt Newton (piano), Petr Cancura (saxophone), Mark McIntyre (bass), Ethan Ardelli (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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