Matt Criscuolo: Tell Me a Bedtime Story

Track

Tell Me a Bedtime Story

Artist

Matt Criscuolo (alto sax)

CD

Melancholia (M Records 1001)

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Musicians:

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)

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string arrangements by Larry Willis, composed by Herbie Hancock

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

Albumcovermattcriscuolomelancholia

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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