Mar 12, 2022
Matt Slocum’s latest work is a long-form suite, performed by one of the best quartets I’ve seen put together in some time. Slocum, the drummer and composer of the songs on With Love and Sadness (Sunnyside Records), originally planned for a trio, but decided the music called for a fuller sound. The resulting group – Walter Smith III on saxophone, Taylor Eigsti on piano and Fender Rhodes, Larry Grenadier on bass and Slocum on drums – makes the album a must-listen and an early contender for the year end “best of” lists.
With Love and Sadness, made possible by Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Program, was recorded on analog equipment, giving the resulting music a warm, immediate feel. Created to be listened to as a whole, the seven-part suite was inspired in part by Matt’s first trip away from home after the pandemic hit, a vacation at Maine’s majestic Acadia National Park. There is a strong sense of melody, and a harmonic unity that rewards the listener who enjoys the album in one sitting.
Slocum honed his craft as an undergraduate at USC under Peter Erskine, and has gone on to record with Steve Cardenas and Dayna Stephens on his Trio Pacific Vol.1, Grenadier and Gerald Clayton on Sanctuary and Smith, Stephens, Clayton and Massimo Biolcati on his noted Black Elk’s Dream. He’s performed with those players in many different settings, as he has with Anthony Wilson, Ben Wendel, Sam Yahel, Lage Lund and Linda May Han Oh.
Podcast 888 is my conversation with Matt, as we talk about the inspiration behind, and the writing and recording of With Love and Sadness. He also shares some information on coming projects – is there another Trio Pacific album on the horizon? – and his hopes for playing the suite live. There is a release party planned at Mezzrow in Manhattan on May 12. Musical selections from With Love and Sadness include “An Evolving Alliance” and the concluding “America Revisited.”