1. Father's Day
2. Brazilian Wish
3. There You Are
4. Childhood Home
5. When She's Gone
6. So Close
7. Another Year
8. Calm Waters
9. Softly Speaking
Matt Finley - flugelhorn & trumpet
Romero Lubambo - acoustic guitar
Warren Bernhardt - piano
Jon Werking - piano & keyboards
Jeff Ciampa - electric guitar
Mark Egan - electric bass
Dave Finck - acoustic bass
Joel Rosenblatt, drums
Jeff Siegel, drums
Tomas Martin Lopez - Latin percussion
Barry Denielian - trumpet
David Mann -tenor & soprano sax
Dan Levine - trombone
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click here to learn more about Matt Finley
MATT FINLEY - Brazilian Wish
by Randy Treece
Retired professor, now full-time musician and trumpeter/flugelhornist, Matt Finley, the front man for Rio Jazz who hails from the Poughkeepsie/Kingston area, has added to his musical wares, Brazilian Wish. Finley must have serious musical credentials to attract the likes of jazz guitarist extraordinare Romero Lubambo, venturesome pianist Warren Bernhardt, bassist Mark Egan of Pat Metheny and Sting fame, Joel Rosenblatt, the rhythm master for Spyro Gyra for fourteen years, and a host of other bona fide musicians.
This production features nine original compositions from Finley. There are none to wax wildly about nor any to be derided as flaccid either. They all fit snugly within a relaxing Brazilian mix, cleaving closely to exacting Brazilian modalities - easy-going, smooth, and prosperously arranged. Most of the songs are thematically concise, almost epigrammatic in some respects, and the minimalist solos are unadventurous yet precise and lucid. With every musician getting a swing at bat even though the Finley, Lubambo, and Bernhardt, as expected, have the lion's share of the succinct solos, no one's solo will leave you ajar; they are smooth, consistent, and euphonious.
We are off to a good start with a catchy melody and equally fetching rhythm on "Father's Day", displaying Finley's clear sound, which is ubiquitous throughout the entire recording, and Lubambo's emphatic guitar solo. The pace is decelerated on "Brazilian Wish" where Finley and Bernhardt share the spotlight. Finley slowly nuances his full uncluttered sound around the melody and Bernhardt performs adequately. A warmer, genuine Brazilian feel is delivered on "There You Are", replete with a full brass exchange. The best melody of the production is "Childhood's Home", coated with a bossa nova sentimentaity. "She's Gone" is breezy with cordial chords. Lubambo's infectious guitar work on "So Close" adds a Brazilian authenticity to an already sensual song. We have another mood shift on the arresting "Another Year", with satisfactory solo work by Finley and Werking. "Calm Water", probably the longest cut on the CD, sounds like a permutation of the melody and structure on "Brazilian Wish" except the rhythm fluctuates throughout giving it buoyancy and a pop. Bernhardt has a few expressive moments on this take. We end the CD with a melancholy tune, "Softly Speaking", which is relaxing enough to decompress any fiery spirit.
All-in-all not a bad outing. The production is devoid of overstatement or sensationalism and is methodically paced. It is evenly structured and softly framed. This recording will not be compulsory listening, but certainly will not find itself hidden in anyone's library.
Randy Treece is an avid and ubiquitous fan of jazz music, especially on the local scene. For many years he has contributed jazz artist reviews for "A Place For Jazz "and has written album reviews on request by jazz artists.