Matt Carter Octet: Read Between The Lines

UK nonet featuring flautist Gareth Lockrane reminds of Birth Of The Cool as it plies blues, bebop and folk strands


With its breezy, tight orchestrations and good-natured interplay between musicians, Matt Carter’s debut album for the Ubuntu label is an excellent listen. It starts with a quirky, upbeat fade in track Sunny Side. Running at under a minute, it does enough to let you know that you’re in for a good time over the next hour or so.

Sharp playing, enticing rhythms and terrific exchanges of ideas between the musicians often bring to mind that sense of fun and musical exploration that was present on Birth Of The Cool. Blues, bebop and folk influences are at work, and Carter’s writing has been compared to that of Marty Paich. Certainly the multi-layered, well-disciplined but free-flowing sound recalls the style and sophistication that emerged in jazz in the 1950s.

Even on covers of well-known material such as Gershwin’s They Can’t Take That Away From Me the band sounds fresh and engaged. Carter and bassist Joe Lee lead on this one, ably supported with excellent, subtle drumming by Luke Tomlinson.

“Joyful” is a word that features in the CD liner notes, and Carter himself is quoted as saying of his musical colleagues that “it is a complete pleasure playing music with all of you”. That really does shine through in this recording.

Carter’s band has already completed two tours of the UK, playing at many leading jazz clubs. Based on what you’ll hear on Read Between The Lines it sounds like catching them live could be a terrific night out.

Sunny Side; Abode; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; Fighting Talk; High Germany; Girl Talk; Hope Song; Duke’s Mood; Like It Or Not; Read Between The Lines (62.00)
Carter (p); Luke Tomlinson (d); Joe Lee (b); George Jefford (t); Tom Smith (as); Jonny Ford (ts); Harry Greene (bar); Harry Maund (tb); Gareth Lockrane (f). Livingstone Studios, no date given.
Ubuntu Music UBU0143