Jazz at Ronnie Scott's: Issue 147 (March - April 2004)
The Audio-B label is also the home of one of
the UK's liveliest bands, the MATT WATES SEXTET. Their latest album,
The Miller's Tale (ABCD 5014), showcases not only the leader's powerfully
agile alto, but also the sparky interaction and soloing skills of some
of the country's most zesty young players: trumpeter Martin Shaw, tenor
player Steve Kaldestad and pianist Leon Greening. With a mix of cogent
originals and standards such as 'All or Nothing at All' and 'We Kiss in
a Shadow' faultlessly propelled by bassist Malcolm Creese and drummer
Steve Brown, this is an unequivocally enjoyable, wholly unpretentious,
compulsively listenable album.
The Guardian Friday November 28, 2003
This British sextet has set local jazzers' tongues wagging over recent
months, largely for the sophistication of young saxophonist Wates'
arrangements. The downside of this set is its almost unbroken
familiarity of references - the late Ronnie Scott would have loved it,
and heard in it much the same amalgam of Mecca ballrooms Latin riffs,
Birth of the Cool-influenced arrangements, and Lee Konitz, Cannonball
Adderley and Miles Davis horn phraseology that informed his own
road-band in the mid-1950s. The coolly-whirring contrapuntal
arrangements (like sampled bop solos overlaid on each other) sometimes
make you think "That's clever", rather than "What was that?", but the
music is largely elegant and affectionately crafted, and the soloing is
often very high class. Wates' own shapely alto lines, Steve Kaldestad's
more swaggering tenor sound and some excellent trumpet improvising from
the experienced Martin Shaw are the stand-out moments.
The Scotsman Wednesday 31st March 2004
YOUNG English alto saxophonist Matt Wates serves up another disc of
swinging jazz. Hard bop lies at the core of his style, with a touch of
the cooler influence of the contemporaneous West Coast style of the
1950s. His compositions are balanced by bright, thoughtful arrangements
of four standards and the band is right on the button. Hard to fault.