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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Oct 22, 2012

Close your eyes and picture the jazz quintet. A classic arrangement of musicians – saxophone, trumpet, piano, bass, drums.

Now open your eyes and check out Matthew Silberman’s latest quintet. Saxophone, bass, drums – and two guitars? What is this, a bar band in your local rock club?

No, it’s all part of this promising young player’s vision for his band. “I was thinking of using one guitarist as another horn player and the other as a keyboard player,” he said. “One is dealing a more with textures, chords and comping, the other more with playing lines and melodies." Questionable Creatures is Silberman’s debut album as a leader, and its musical inspirations are as much from the rock of Blonde Redhead and Sonic Youth or the hip-hop of the Wu-Tang Clan as it is in the straight ahead jazz of one of his  former employers, trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

Silberman has brought together likeminded players from his days at the New School in New York and the Brooklyn scene for the group. Ryan Ferreira and Greg Ruggiero are the twin guitar players, joined by bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Tommy Crane. Questionable Creatures is full of original tunes, all with a sweep and style unlike most of the jazz you will hear this year. And that’s a good thing. Oh, and check out that album art – it makes you cry out for a return to vinyl’s cardboard sleeves.

I spoke with Matt fresh from his successful CD release show at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn. We talked about his start in the music world, his goals, and the sources for his creative inspirations. Click here to listen to Podcast 307, including musical selections:

Matthew Silberman “Mrs. Heimoff” from Questionable Creatures. This tune, written in a short burst of creativity by Silberman, has been described as an attempt to “recreate Silberman's childhood impressions of an old woman's semi-schizophrenic aura, chanting in Hebrew, speaking to herself in Yiddish, and seeming to speak in tongues while davening at the end of the row in his childhood synagogue”. You decide.

Matthew Silberman “Ghost of the Praire” from Questionable Creatures. The title is a shout out to two of Silberman’s musical sources – Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan and Charlie Parker, both in America’s heartland in Kansas City. Check out Ferreira’s guitar distortion playing down a foundation for the band to build upon.

Matthew Silberman “The Pharaoh’s Tomb” from Questionable Creatures. Imagine a cross between a Speilbergian film score and a Late John Coltrane composition and you have an idea of where Matthew was headed with this atmospheric piece.