March 3, 2019
Astral Spirits MF161/AS 060
Matt Piet & His Disorganization
Clean Feed CF 465 CD
Expressive in two different, but closely related situations is pianist Matt Piet, another of the cadre of distinctive improvisers emanating from Chicago. Also featured are other locals, who in 2019 can be termed both young and veteran. Tim Daisy, known for his work with Ken Vandermark among many others, holds down the drum spot on both discs. Saxophonist Dave Rempis, whose associates include Vandermark and Arveeayl Ra, is featured on Throw Tomatoes, while Nick Mazzarella, who has played with the likes of Rob Mazurek is on Rummage Out, as is cornetist Josh Berman, whose unique stylistic conception unites pre-modern and Free Jazz elements. With each CD consisting of two tracks each, completely improvised live at Chicago clubs, the main point of demarcation is combo size. In terms of musical consistency, Rummage Out was actually recorded in the time period in-between the sessions which make up Throw Tomatoes.
On Rummage Out, Mazzerarella’s doughty alto saxophone tone and Berman’s plunger asides put flesh on the bones of the expositions articulated by Piet’s keyboard variations. Although the performance intensity is such that the climax of “Lost & Found” is also a riffing horn crescendo of squealing saxophone split tones and an essay in brass extension, menacing piano chords advance the theme spider-like alongside the other players, while Daisy’s tap-dancing-like pops and claps move the narrative along without overpowering anyone else’s soloing. A solid base of low-pitched tremolo notes from Piet plus smacks from Daisy’s kit solidify the bottom of “The Last Place You Look” as Berman meets the contrapuntal challenge of a full-fledge alto saxophone blow out by splintering a mellow surge into atom-sized screeches. After Piet’s percussive and repetative chording turns more aggressive to complement the horn parts, Daisy’s press rolls join the others for a four-way polyphonic ending.
More closely aligned to Free Jazz territory due to the ferocity of Rempis’ mercurial split-tone soloing, are both tracks of Throw Tomatoes. While his flutter-tongued exhilaration is infectious, his output is complemented by secondary high-energy melodies from Piet, as Daisy’s rolls and paradiddles place mark. Midway through “To Play Is the Thing” however, variations slow down enough to highlight the pianist. He tries out sparse single notes and positioned plinks until he turns to kinetic sweeps, coupled with economic inner string plucks, which add contemporary notated music suggestions. Eventually Piet’s contrapuntal but complementary melody evolves in double counterpoint with Rempis’ high-pitched note spewing, which draws back enough to infer avant-garde Swing blending. Finally Daisy’s cymbals give the thrown theme a conclusive rhythmic ping. “The Thousand Natural Shock” offers more of the same, with Rempis introducing more expansive phrasing encompassing many horn colors and pitches. Although Piet too unrolls his tremolo contributions at supersonic speeds, a hint of boogie-woogie peeks through the performance. From then on there’s an expanse of Rempis reed inventiveness that touches on R&B energy while Daisy’s angular output squirms into a near-mainstream narrative. Creating three sequential showcases for key-hammering splashes, high-pitched reed squalls and drum rat tat tats the three lines join and then exit as a separate but parallel coda.
With these discs Piet has demonstrated that’s he’s another distinct piano voice to be reckoned with in Chicago and elsewhere, But never forget that he has plenty of help from his musical associates throughout.
Track Listing: Rummage: 1. Lost & Found 2. The Last Place You Look
Personnel: Rummage: Josh Berman (cornet); Nick Mazzarella (alto saxophone): Matt Piet (piano) and Tim Daisy (drums and percussion)
Track Listing: Throw: 1. To Play Is the Thing 2. The Thousand Natural Shock
Personnel: Throw: Dave Rempis (alto and tenor saxophones); Matt Piet (piano) and Tim Daisy (drums)