Matt Criscuolo is a world class alto-saxophonist and composer. He is a superior improvisor with a sound of his own, and he performs sophisticated and modern originals. his tone is distinctive (not sounding like any other player), and he has no problem consistently coming up with fresh ideas, and he has developed his own voice on his instrument.
As for Matt Criscuolo's associates on Blippity Blat, they each have their own musical identity. Pianist-keyboardist Larry Willis has uplifted a countless number of sessions and recordings by everyone from Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan to Branford Marsalis and Steve Turre plus 20 cd's of his own. John Clark is one of the most vital French horn players of the past 30 years. Bassist Gerals Cannon has worked with virtually everyone (most recently with McCoy Tyner), always supplying modern and driving bass lines. Billy Williams regularly plays drums with Larry Willis, Cyrus Chestnut, Warren Wolf and other major artists.
Blippity Blat, Matt Criscuolo's 4th cd as a leader (following Streets Of New York, Lotus Blossom, Melancholia),consists of seven challenging originals by the altoist, along with the standard "my Ship," Larry Willis' "the Rock" and Wayne Shorter's "Dance Cadaverous." The blend between French horn and alto on these pieces make this set particularly memorable.
The opening "Shuckin' The Cobb" sets the standard for what follows. Harmonically adventurous, the piece nevertheless swings, giving each of the musicians the ooportunity to solo. "Blippity Blat" creatively alternates a heated 4/4 section with sections in jazz waltz time and the transitions are hip. "Somethin' Like That" has a melody reminiscent of Freddie Hubbard's "Crisis" and features Criscuolo stretching out with the rhythm section with Willis dropping out part of the time. After the driving "Generally Not," Criscuolo digs into his ballad "Inventiscovered," creating a mature statement. The explorative modal piece "ronnie's Tune'" the uptempo romp "The Rock," and an atmospheric rendition of "Dance Cavareous" precede "The Larry Willis I Know" which has a groove slightly reminiscent of Ahmad Jamal's famous version of "poinciana." A tasteful rendition of "My Ship" concludes this tasteful set.
Blippity Blat, which features Matt Criscuolo and his musicians in prime form, can simply be described as high quality 21st century modern jazz. --Scott Yanow, author of 11 books and beyond