Matt Anderson Quartet

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Matt Anderson – Tenor and Soprano Saxophones
Alberto Palau Garcera – Piano
Will Harris – Double-Bass
Jay Davis – Drums

“a well-integrated, swinging and supremely confident ensemble… [with] a soulful depth to his musicality that underpins the academic attention to detail. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Anderson is very comfortable mining the rich seam of jazz that was developed in the UK through the 1970’s and 80’s by artists like Bobby Wellins, rooted in the language of swinging post-bop but with a distinctive British accent.” Jazzwise ****

“a bluesy, hard-bop-flavoured, almost classic Blue Note knowingness… Mature and spirited” Marlbank ***½

“The band’s synergy as an ensemble shines brightly in this live setting… a must-listen album” Jazz in Europe

“a terrific live set. Individually and collectively, the performances are first-rate. Anderson takes his influences… but adds his own freshness and open approach showing a vibrant, warm tone throughout.” All About Jazz ***½

Matt Anderson Quartet Live at Leeds Jazz Festival is a snapshot of the band at their best: stretching out on a set of original tunes with a characteristically open, interactive and risk-taking approach. Led by London-based saxophonist and composer Matt Anderson, this is the group’s first live release. However, it is their third album together and follows 2022’s The Town and the City, reprising two pieces from this record (Northern Journey and The Conversation) alongside four new compositions by Anderson. The band’s strengths as an ensemble are particularly apparent in a live setting, having been refined through eight years of gigging, touring and recording together, a longevity rare in today’s constantly-changing jazz scene. The Leeds audience excitement is also palpable as the band return to a venue they have played at many times over the years, HEART in Headingley, as part of the city’s second annual jazz festival.

Across this set the roots of jazz are never far away, with a rhythmic feel and blues sensibility that is anchored in the tradition, however the music also expands into other areas such as modal and contemporary harmony and British folk-style melodies, giving the recording a distinctive identity.

The Conversation explores West African-influenced forms of rhythmic conversation in its lively 9/8 groove combined with pentatonic melodies, giving way to the slow-swinging New Old Blues which draws on gospel and blues sounds. Pianist Alberto Palau’s Northern Journey has a British folk-influenced melody played on the soprano saxophone, and Green Shoots, with its spring-like mood, is dedicated to Anderson’s new born son Robert. Mr. Weird is a tribute to the great Wayne Shorter, named after his nickname which he scrawled proudly on his saxophone case as a teenager, and written after his passing just before this tour began. Shorter was also the subject of Anderson’s 2015 debut album, Wild Flower Sextet. The album closes with Teleforce, an up-tempo modal piece with a motivic melody, reminiscent of another important influence, Kenny Wheeler.

The members of the Matt Anderson Quartet met during Masters studies at the Royal Academy of Music in 2015, forging an instant bond which has kept them together since. Alberto Palau is an immensely talented pianist originally from Valencia, Spain. Now based in London, his experiences living in Boston and New York and working with artists such as Perico Sambeat and Charles McPherson make him much in-demand from leading British musicians. Jay Davis is one of the busiest drummers on the London scene, featuring for example in the Alex Hitchcock Quintet, Big Bad Wolf and his own group BadTrad. Will Harris’ remarkable bass playing has put him in high demand in the South-West where he has been based for many years, and after spending time in London he has become an increasingly popular choice of bassist in the capital as well.

Working together frequently over the past eight years, the band have developed a deep connection, touring extensively across the U.K. as well as appearing at venues such as the Bimhuis, Amsterdam; Jamboree, Barcelona and Jimmy Glass, Valencia and receiving support from Help Musicians and Arts Council England.