bassist * composer * improviser

Matt Pavolka

#8 Horns Band Press


"There’s a smattering of high-literary references on “The Horns Band” (Fresh Sound New Talent), an engrossing new album by the jazz bassist Matt Pavolka. Don’t get too hung up on them, or you might scare up more questions than answers — begin to wonder, for example, why “Vheissu,” inspired by Thomas Pynchon’s novel “V,” worries a single melodic phrase in a way that seems better suited to “Recollected Forward,” named after Kierkegaard’s concept of repetition. Anyway, what matters is Mr. Pavolka’s intently soulful writing for the cornetist Kirk Knuffke, the trombonist Jacob Garchik, the alto saxophonist Loren Stillman and the drummer Mark Ferber. Drawing from contemporary strategies as well as the small-group music of Duke Ellington, his compositions accomplish a lot with earthy beauty and shifting momentum. At their best, as on “The Night the Blind Man Dreamt That He Was Blind” (for José Saramago), they suggest a gradually forming picture." - Nate Chinen, The New York Times


"Local jazz fans know Pavolka as an agile bassist who buoys many an ensemble while injecting his lines with a hefty thrust. With the arrival of his new album on the Fresh Sounds label, they can now try to grok him as a modern bandleader who appreciates melody more than most - or at least has a compelling way of showing that appreciation. The snaky themes that are cannily bent by his "Horns Band" ('bone, cornet, alto sax) should be a balm to anyone to finds the all-too-common frictions of modern jazz a tad obvious. Expect some moments of beauty at this CD release gig. Pavolka's a pro when it comes to both wild AND wistful." - Jim Macnie, The Village Voice


"Bassist-composer Matt Pavolka doubles on trombone and leads an aptly named quintet—with cornetist Kirk Knuffke, saxist Loren Stillman, trombonist Jacob Garchik and drummer Jochen Rueckert—at a release party for his latest, The Horns Band, which employs the titular instruments in a kind of postbop mini orchestra." - Time Out New York


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