Matt Marantz Trio: Sonoran 

In trio with bass and drums, the NY-based saxophonist, son of a high-school jazz director, enjoys playing without the distraction of chords


Marantz likes the dynamic of the trio. He specifically likes a situation where improvisation rules and “when chords are not specifically outlined by a constant polyphonic accompaniment the soloist is not in charge of”.

He certainly makes the most of the trio setting here, with six strong compositions of his own, bookended by Joe Henderson’s In & Out and Monk’s Bemsha Swing. The three get to improvise freely on all the material and seem to feed off each other with no worrying chords suggesting they take a certain direction.

Marantz, tutored in jazz by his father at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas, jumps happily into playing Henderson’s tricky theme with the rhythm section following him faithfully. The tenor man uses the full range of his instrument on this one, favouring the higher range for most of his extended solo.

New Dawn is a complex line played at slow tempo to start. The changing time gives a good indication of how well these musicians work together. There’s good forward motion from Rosato, and drummer Ferber drives hard. He gets a good workout on this one too.

Marantz says in his liner how good it feels to “simply count off a tune and let them play.” Fortunately for him he has a bass player and drummer that share his love of direct improvisation and can link up so well with him. The leader has great facility on both tenor and soprano and uses the full range of both instruments. An eight-minute exploration of Bemsha Swing is the best example here of the trio’s inventive capability.

In & Out; New Dawn; Waltz No 1; Sonoran; Trees Lounge; Wels; For Charlie Haden; Bemsha Swing. (64.03)
Marantz (ts, ss); Rick Rosato (b); Mark Ferber (d) Brooklyn, 28 October 2020.
Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 643