Drawing on the influences of classic jazz albums such as Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue and Bill Evans’ Waltz For Debby, the Warnambool-based Matt Hewson Quartet (MHQ) strives for a smooth yet vibrant sound, based on the compositions and arrangements of tenor saxophonist Matt Hewson. The latest album, Under The Gun, was ABC Jazz’s Feature Album of the Week in October 2012.
The strength of the Quartet is the chemistry of the personnel. While the improvisational forays of Hewson and pianist Richard Tankard are by turns feisty and delicate, the focus is on the overall sound, which is rooted in the grooves laid down by drummer Barry Galbraith and bassist Ruben Shannon. The Quartet is intimately concerned with textures, dynamics and cohesion.
While exploring diverse modal and harmonic concepts, and relying on improvisation as the dominant aspect of the music, MHQ ultimately strives to remain sympathetic to the listener of any musical persuasion. This is not improvisational jazz for its own sake – it’s all about the tune.
This is no more apparent than in the two re-imagined pop-rock tunes that grace the Quartet’s newly released debut album Under The Gun, namely the ballad version of Foo Fighters song Everlong, and the bouncy waltz version of Oasis’ Wonderwall.
Alongside these two covers, Under The Gun features six Hewson originals, and live performances include additional Hewson tunes, jazz classics, and other reworked popular songs.