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Proud Flesh

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
The rock group Matrix made a splash at the 1976 Monterey Jazz Festival riding the crest of the highly amped sounds that laid the groundwork for the fusion movement of the 1970s. This is not the group's first reunion. In fact, one might call this the second-and-a-half gathering of the clan, with the first one taking place in 1992 and a mini one occurring in 2000. There is a carryover from the latter convocation with the first tune, "No, Seriously." The lines that distinguish a band such as Matrix from run-of-the-mill groups is that there is an effort (and with successful results here) to introduce some serious structure to the music rather than simply limiting it to mindless guitar riffs and an unrelenting backbeat. Tracks seven through ten, under the title "Proud Flesh (A Tribute to Miles Davis)," provide the opportunity to worship at the altar of a major jazz icon who moved in a similar direction during the 1970s. Some of these tracks get quite exotic. Moreover, in addition to the electric Davis, with close listening one picks a jot of his collaboration with Gil Evans, such as that on Sketches of Spain. There is also a reference to basic elements that make up jazz, blues, and swing riffs coming through on "Reunion Dues." This track also allows plenty of space for Larry Darling on trumpet and John Harmon on piano. There is some good ensemble playing on this cut as well. And perhaps best of all, the drumming is not limited to the cloying, monotonous, monotone backbeat that characterizes similar groups to this day. Recommended. ~ Dave Nathan, Rovi