Nightports with Matthew Bourne - Nightports with Matthew Bourne

by James Weiskittel Rating:9 Release Date:2018-03-02
Nightports with Matthew Bourne
Nightports with Matthew Bourne

Matthew Bourne has been operating on the outer-fringes of jazz for nearly twenty years.  Since first gaining exposure as a winner of the Perrier Jazz Award in 2001, Bourne’s talents as a pianist and composer have been in high demand, resulting in countless collaborations with an eclectic mix of artists.

Established by musician/producers Adam Martin and Mark Slater, Nightports with Matthew Bourne is the inaugural release of what is intended to be an ongoing series of collaborative efforts that seek to augment and manipulate both the music they record as well as the audiences’ expectations.

Combining live percussion, a driving piano motif and electronic embellishments, the opening track “Exit” is a brilliantly executed introduction for the record.  Meanwhile, the sparse “Window” represents one of the album’s more melodically concise moments, and the third track, “White-Shirted”, begins as an almost avante-garde electronica piece before unravelling into another haunting piano line.  

Be it the digital manipulation of “Over”, the swinging, industrial-tinged “Look Me In the Eye”, or the minimalistic “Fragile Years”, much of the album can be categorized as either a solo piano motif, a fusion-tinged soundscape, or a marriage of the two.  

The project’s stated intention, to “coax hitherto unheard sounds from a range of pianos - decrepit dusty uprights holding their own against the attack and precision of a modern concert grand” is not only impressively realized, but the results feel far more orchestrated than the spontaneous nature of the trio’s process might suggest. 

Make no mistake, this is clearly music that will be appreciated by musicians of all walks, but the beauty of this album is that it works on a much more immediate level as well.  And while most of this material could easily be classified as ‘heady’ modern fusion and/or ‘chilled’ soundtrack music, it’s the combination of all of these elements that renders Nightports with Matthew Bourne the perfect mix: a continually challenging, yet instantly rewarding listen.

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