Multi-instrumentalist Matt Belzer debuts seven original compositions on Connections. As the follow-up to his duet recording with Scott Tiemann titled Crypto, it ably represents Belzer's abilities as a composer and arranger for larger formats. The recording opens with "Deep Focus," a variation on a jazz-rock seven groove that is at the heart of the song. Belzer plays soprano saxophone, alto flute, and clarinet throughout the composition, with excellent accompaniment from Tiemann on drums, Drew Waters on bass, and Jon Ozmont on piano. "The Ember Waltz" is a contemplative waltz in odd-time signatures. It is a beautiful reflection of the ensemble's meditative interplay and artful focus. "Misfit the Second" is about second-borns and misfits, and is inspired by the Morse code. It has an extended form with 23-beat phrases, a driving 3/4 tempo, and a free jazz ethos. "No Blues on Mars (It's All Red)" is a bittersweet tone poem that features Belzer on alto flute and clarinet. It mesmerizes the listener with its hypnotic, spacy feel and trance-like ambience. Every song on this recording is excellent, and Belzer's composing prowess is applauded because of his thoughtful arrangements. With new harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic ideas coming at the listener from every angle, Connections is one of Matt Belzer's more interesting offerings and definitely meets his high aesthetic standards.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein