Matthias Lupri Quartet

Shadow of the Vibe

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For his second recording vibraphonist Lupri continues down a modern mainstream pathway, inspired by Gary Burton, Bobby Hutcherson, Ed Saindon, et. al. He's not in a class with peers Steve Nelson, Stefon Harris, or Joe Locke, but is working hard to attain that status. What's most striking is that Lupri gives the majority of melodic space to soprano and tenor saxophonist George Garzone. The vibes are not generally the most up front instrument. Drummer Sebastian DeKrom is a very strong and noticeable player throughout, while bassist John Lockwood holds down the bottom on truly standup bass in a most non-standard fashion. Lupri's compositions are also in a developmental phase. There are instances where Garzone's soprano turns quite introspective, as during "New Fall" and "Moonlamps." "Mirror" best suits this mood, a ballad with DeKrom's jungle drums patiently informing the reflective setting. A more fervent soprano on "Investion" has the band hitting on all 6/8 to 4/4 hard swinging post-bop cylinders, some powerful stuff. A real hard bopper "Fast Corners" stretches Lupri's horizons, proving him a quite flexible, quick witted, happy and serious melodicist, taking the corners and straightaways at full throttle next to Garzone's 200 mph tenor. The by now Sam Rivers standard "Beatrice" is a tenor led easy swinger with Lupri's best solo, a perfect vehicle for the foursome. Even more revelatory is Lupri's solo vibes feature "Intrusion," while the title track urges Lupri's best compositional features, a quiet urgency from a rhythmic standpoint, inspired by Garzone's soulful tenor informancy. The title of this CD broadly suggests Lupri's reluctance to lead with his ego not his musicianship, and that's not a problem. You do hear some moaning when he solos, certainly not rivaling Keith Jarrett or Monica Seles, but it is distracting. Lupri shows lots of promise though, and that is unmistakable. Recommended, but listen for the next one, it's likely to be a breakthrough.

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