Matt Shulman

So It Goes

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What is clear from the start is where Matt Shulman's influences stem from. He's heard electric Miles Davis or Randy Brecker, and the vocal stylings of Chet Baker. One can speculate on how effectively he combines these elements. Shulman sings through his trumpet and droned electronics, using multi-phonics that could be easily be compared to Rahsaan Roland Kirk or even Albert Mangelsdorff. His flat, self-effaced vocalizing is only slightly more pronounced than Baker's. There's a lot of talent here, but the question is how much of it smacks of sheer gimmickry, a simple plaything, or advanced musicianship? Much of the material is spacy, frequently modal, and combined with different raw elements of jazz. "Truckin'" is a bluesy swinger laced with said multi-phonic overtones, while the title track in 6/8 employs a bluesy/balladic style. "Ooh ooh" vocals are heard in many instances, at times acting as a tuning implement. Perhaps the most interesting and ironic piece here, "Forgetting/Remembering Yourself" uses Matt Clohesy's probing two-note ostinato bass, buoyed by drummer Jason Wildman's tick-tock drum beat under Shulman's playful trumpeting and electronic drone. An at once smeary and staccato combination line during the intro to "Zeppelin" leads to witty 6/8 and 5/4 in-the-main rhythm changes, and some introspective poetry. The most legit jazz is a straight reading of "It Could Happen to You," no vocals, electronics or histrionics, just a little echo on the trumpet. Generally spooky, spacious, often overproduced and occasionally elementally overwhelming, Shulman's further efforts should yield truly expansive results as soon as he utilizes that fine art called self-editing.

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