THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE


Matt Marshak--Family Funktion

Blue, smooth, and funky with a vibe that just tears it up.  Jeff Golub?  Well, in the same ballpark, but it’s Matt Marshak--back again with another smoker called Family Funktion.  This one gets started right away in a most unpretentious, let-it-fly manner, nonetheless still coated in class.

Let me get right to it. There are tunes here that are so rich with substance and character that you just know that Marshak came to this project with the intent of pumping out the best he could and only after having envisioned such a meticulous production long before studio time.  Cases in point would be the funked-up mid-tempo vibe called “Uptown.”  That’s followed quickly by yet another funkster of the same quality and general blueprint, the title track.  Then, there is the smartly arranged and nicely phrased “Great Soul” and “Seduction,” the latter sporting one marvelous hook.  

There’s an interesting and tasteful pattern here with this album. While the first two tracks are lively up-tempo offerings, the remainder, barring the last track (a slow, sweet solo guitar journey), are all cast in a mid-tempo setting.  Most of those are just plain funky, slinky, and stylish, and all done with deliberate attention to the finest detail.  In fact, that seems to be Marshak’s preferred place to “live”--in that zone somewhere between the frenzied up-tempo and the seriously slow grooves.  Not a bad place to be for his style.

Sometimes, even the finest smooth jazz tunes are not relished by the artists the way they should be. They can be rushed through as if wanting to quickly open the door to the next track.  Marshak acts as though he wants you to settle in on the one track that’s playing at the time and just stay there in that groove until he (or you) finally decide that enough’s enough.  He truly loves what he’s doing, without a doubt.  You gotta love this guy’s approach.  His technique is a cool one. The notes are always crisp, fluid, clear, and well-chorded.

Make no mistake, he is working with a serious quality corps of supporting musicians (Kenny Harris lighting it up on bass with thick, hot lines; driving rhythms put down by drummer Carl Anderson; a host of contributing keyboardists on different tracks; and appearances by all-too-capable saxmen, including one most familiar “Shilts”).  

So, chalk another up for Matt Marshak, a guitarist who’s found a home here in smooth jazz and clearly plans to hang around and make a little noise.  Many have already gotten used to that “noise” and look forward to hearing it.  --  Ronald Jackson

Sorry, there are no Amazon MP3 clips available at this time for Matt Marshak.  However, his CD can be previewed at CDbaby.com.