The Matt Gordy Jazz Tonite Sextet: Be With Me

Sideman to Aaron Copland, Aretha Franklin and others, the West Coast drummer plays his own arrangements with a high-quality small band

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Matt Gordy is an elegant drummer whose subtle contributions perfectly complement the needs of his ensemble both with sticks and brushes. Musically he has travelled a long and winding road which includes performances with Aaron Copland, Pierre Boulez, Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Pops. His impressive resumé also features artists such as Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra Jnr., Tony Bennett, Brian Wilson and Mose Allison.

A lot of inventive writing has gone into the date and all the arrangements are by the leader, who studied classical piano as a youngster. Count Basie introduced Topsy back in 1937 and Ron Stout in a cup mute opens it here in a well-worked call-and-response routine which allows the soloists to introduce themselves.

Stout shows just why he is one of the first-call trumpeters in Los Angeles as he plots his way melodically through Chloe, a Gordy ballad not to be confused with the 1927 hit of the same name.

The excellent Sherry Williams, with her rich, soulful contralto, reminds me a little of Aretha Franklin and Cleo Laine. She handles the difficulties of Be With Me with aplomb but she really shines on the 1966 Bobby Hebb hit Sunny. Mal Waldron’s lovely Soul Eyes opens with a contrafact leading to an expressive couple of choruses from Ido Meshulam on trombone.

This CD is self-released and available from jazztonite.com.

Discography
Topsy; You And The Night And The Music; Camouflage; Spring Ahead; Chloe; Be With Me; Soul Eyes; My Shining Hour; Wheatland; Sunny (60.59)
Ron Stout (t, flh); Ido Meshulam (tb, vtb); Jeff Ellwood (ts, ss); Alan Pasqua (p); Chris Colangelo (b, elb); Gordy (d, pc); Sherry Williams (v). LA, 17, 18 July 2021.