Monday, November 11, 2013

Matthew Finck-Jonathan Ball: It's Not That Far

The Matthew Finck-Jonathan Ball Project debut album (feat. Randy Brecker - Jay Anderson - Adam Nussbaum)
A major milestone in the careers both of Matthew and Jonathan.
Hans Koert

Guitarist Matthew Finck and reed man Jonathan Ball met for the first time at a wedding of a mutual friend and learned that they both had their roots in jazz. They dreamed about founding a band together, but it would last until 2012 before the Matthew Finck-Jonathan Ball project was born ….   Recently they debuted on an album entitled It’s Not That Far, with both leaders and a rhythm section featuring bass player Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum drums.  Randy Brecker, featured trumpet player can be heard, as a guest player, in three of the nine tracks.

Matthew Finck (photo courtesy: Michael Weisbrot)

Matthew Finck, born in a musical family (1972), raised with jazz music all around.  His father, Ron Finck is a featured jazz saxophonist, who performed with musicians like Anthony Braxton, Ed Summerlin and trombonist Roswell Rudd; both father and son can be heard in Roswell Rudd’s 1999 album Broad Strokes. Matthew had studied at the Long Island University. Graduated he started a career as an educator and guitarist, performing with musician like Roswell Rudd, Randy Brecker and John Medeski and a sought after accompanist for popular singers like Neil Carter and Tony Martin. He started this project with his friend and colleague saxophone player Jonathan Ball.

Jonathan Ball (photo courtesy: Michael Weisbrot)

Jonathan Ball was born in Hartford, Connecticut and started to play the clarinet at the age of eight; later he took the flute and the alto and baritone saxophone. When he was a student at the Western Michigan University he started to play the tenor saxophone, and with that instrument he debuted on record at the University Jazz oOchestraWestern Michigan University Jazz Orchestra) (April 1992). He played in Latin Jazz Ensembles with musicians like Tony Perez, Charles Flores and “El NegroHernandez, with the Lew Anderson’s Big Band and my favorite Brazil trumpet player Claudio Roditi.

The Matthew Finck-Jonathan Ball project debuted in Marlboro (NY) July 2012 and a month later the album It’s Not That Far was recorded  …..
The album has nine tracks, almost all  composed by the two founders of the band, except The Way You Look Tonight, which is, of course, composed by Jerome Kern. Randy Brecker can be heard in three tracks: Gentle Soul, Conundrum and Geppetto.

The Matthew Finck - Jonathan Ball Project (f.l.t.r. Jay Anderson - Jonathan Ball - Adam Nussbaum - Matthew Finck) (photo courtesy: Bart Thrall )

Both members of the rhythm section are sought after accompanists. From the beginning we knew we wanted Jay and Adam to anchor the group,  the leaders of the band remember. The music simply would not be what it is absent their contributions.   They are perfect foil for any creative musical endeavor. Their advice and sensibilities are priceless  and what you get is an interplay 30 years in the making, Oscar Schnider’s liner notes quote the leaders.  
Photo courtesy:
Hans Koert
 Jay Anderson, born in Ontario (California) October 1955 is active as a bass player since his start early 1970s in the All Southern California Honor Orchestra and was a member of Woody Herman’s Band at tour in Europe, 35 years ago. His discography is impressive with hundreds of recording titles from A ( Toshiko Akiyoshi: Wishing Peace) up to Z ( Three Frank Zappa albums). In Michael Brecker’s Group (1989), he can be heard with drummer Adam Nussbaum, a percussionist, who started to play the piano, the bass and alto saxophone before he took the drum sticks. He played with John Scofield, David Liebman, Lee Konitz and Conrad Herwig, just to list some – Adam .... remains one of the most sought-after drummers on the cutting edge of the music, the Rough Guide to Jazz reads ..... His list of recordings, in which he participated seems to be even more impressive than Anderson’s discography. 

Enjoy the Matthew Finck composition, East 86th, as can be heard at the album: It's Not That Far.

An album that will appeal to a large group of jazz fans and the good news is that a second album, which will include a Hammond B3, will be released soon …… I'm anxious to hear that one too.

Hans Koert
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They met years ago at a wedding of a mutual friend and it clicked with each other immediately musically, but it would last until 2012 before their debut album was recorded. It's Not That Far has now been released. Saxophonist Jonathan Ball and guitarist Matthew Finck, both active in jazz for decades, found each other in this project, backed with a solid rhythm section featuring two sought-after accompanists .... : Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum ...  two versatile instrumentalists, whose discographies almost read like a Who's Who In Jazz History ..... : The Matthew Finck - Jonathan Ball Project (featuring Randy Brecker): It's Not That Far.

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