Sunday, March 4, 2012
Review: The Matt Otto Quartet at Westport Coffee House
Some decisions practically make themselves. My attendance at a show led by one of my favorite musicians at a comfortable listening room on an otherwise slow Monday evening was a foregone conclusion. Matt Otto's quartet validated my trust in providence. As part of an audience of about 25 at Westport Coffee House on Februrary 27, I heard the saxophonist and composer lead an ensemble through an exemplary set of post-bop.
I wasn't familiar with California-based keyboardist Leonard Thompson. His tasteful work on Rhodes gave the night a groovy '70s vibe. Bassist Gerald Spaits is never less than wonderful. Trumpeter Hermon Mehari and drummer Brian Steever made brief cameos, but Rich Wheeler's appearance during "L.A. R.I.P." provided my favorite moments of the evening. Wheeler's robust approach provides wonderful contrast to Otto's pointillistic style.
I didn't know what to make of Brandon Draper's manic performance. I've admired his work with Alaturka and a separate world/jazz band in recent weeks, but his stint with Otto alternately delighted and annoyed me. Draper is obviously a rhythmic mastermind, but he can sometimes be a bit much.
The embedded clip accurately captures the feel of Monday's show.