Matthew Stevens - Woodwork: meticulously recorded and played with breezy aplomb

Fri, Jan 22, 2016, 06:33



Matthew Stevens



Best known until now as an in-demand side man on the New York scene – particularly for his work with bassist Esperanza Spalding and trumpeter Christian Scott – Canadian Matthew Stevens is a guitarist’s guitarist and a rare example of restraint in today’s rush to record.

His debut as a leader at the relatively advanced age of 34 has been worth the wait, putting an impressive technical command of the instrument at the service of gnarled up-tempo grooves and soaring, emotive melodies.

His fresh-sounding original compositions – the exception being a prescient cover of David Bowie’s Sunday – are meticulously recorded and played with breezy aplomb by a group that includes pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Vicente Archer, drummer Eric Doob and percussionist Paulo Stagnaro.