Matt Criscuolo: Tell Me a Bedtime Story


Tell Me a Bedtime Story


Matt Criscuolo (alto sax)


Melancholia (M Records 1001)

Buy Track


Matt Criscuolo (alto sax), Larry Willis (piano), Billy Drummond (drums),

Phil Bowler (bass), Dave Teggar (cello), Rachel Golub (violin), Whitney Lagrange (violin), Julie Goodale (viola)


string arrangements by Larry Willis, composed by Herbie Hancock


Recorded: Stamford, Connecticut, no date given (CD released in 2009)


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Here is a self-produced CD that stands out from the pack. There is a lot to admire here, but I am especially impressed by the most primal element of all: Criscuolo's sax sound. His is one of the most human and haunting alto sounds on the scene today. Even his simple phrases are infused with lots of emotion. I don't think you can teach this—unless there is some secret course at the Manhattan School of Music that the rest of the students know about—but I sure enjoy it when I hear it. Elsewhere on this CD, Criscuolo delivers a short version of Wayne Shorter's "Miyako" where he stands out just stating the melody. But here he stretches out a bit (not enough for my taste—I would like to hear what he could do a few more choruses), and shows he knows how to construct a solo. The rest of the cast helps too. The rhythm section is happening, and Willis's charts make effective use of the string quartet.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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