Tenor saxophonist Matt Keegan’s third CD as a leader, Tone Imagination, features his trio - bass and drums, in pared and stripped-down jazz that at times seems to want to slip towards the avant-garde, but never fully walks that line. Keegan’s concept was to use the studio as a device to bring out the best in the songs rather than just trying to simulate a live performance. In order to do this the ensemble used overdubs and analogue devices to enhance the sound.
Currently based in Sydney, Australia, Keegan has performed throughout the USA, Europe and Asia. Among the artists Keegan has worked with includes the Resurrectors, 20th Century Dog, Mark Isaacs and James Muller, to list a few. Between 1998 and 2003 he was a member of the Los Angeles based band Pseudopod and worked with other groups including Maroon 5 and Marc Broussard. Since returning to Australia Keegan has concentrated on developing his own band; they have appeared at the Jazz:Now festival at the Sydney Opera House Studio and at the Half Bent festival in Melbourne.
Overdubs are used to nice effect on "Old Times." Keegan builds chordal accompaniment with over-layered and sustained saxophones tones that glide nicely behind his solo saxophone lines. Most of the music on the disc is like "New Day Dawns." In this piece the saxophone’s timbre is modified through effects, but the inherent tone of the saxophone is still preserved and easily recognizable. The solo lines are accompanied by simple bass lines, ably performed by Cameron Undy, and sparse percussion/drum set work by Dave Goodman. Emphasis is not on improvisation, rather it’s on creating a unified sonic concept and exploring the possibilities.A true highlight of the disc is "Shiyuba." This moderately up-tempo composition utilizes the enhanced saxophone sound, along with chordal saxophone overdubs to create a fuller texture. In addition the bass sound is enhanced, and Goodman plays with a heavy rock beat that adds to rather than takes away from the songs driving force. Keegan takes a nice improvised solo that shows he has ability at handling motivic phrase structure.The overall effect of the entire recording is, while not similar to the music of John Klemmer, obviously influenced by the great saxophonist. The disc’s lack of variety hurts the overall presentation.