Matthew Halsall – Fletcher Moss Park album review

Solid. Too few artists in the popular lens today get away with making cool jazz—and successfully. The word that first jumps to mind is solid—solid effort, solid mind-set, solid production, solid everything.  As someone who enjoys spinning an album that can relax the cold tremors of a restless day, you can take it from me that Matthew Halsall’s Fletcher Moss Park is a as cool and smooth as a single-malt scotch.

The world and culture of jazz is very vast, very indefinite, and fans are very opinionated. From the onset, the fore-runner track “Cherry Blossom,” Fletcher Moss Park is indeed the type of album worth mentioning in any refined jazz conversation. Its reminiscence of something from Miles Davis’ “King of Blue” is uncanny as it cultivates the same sort of cognitive rested-ness. The second track, “Fletcher Moss Park” does well to follow up the standard cool jazz sound from its prior. A harp and stand-up bass come together like they were eternally ever meant to be and a piano solidifies the relationship. Moving on, the harp doesn’t leave. On the third track, “Mary Emma Louise,” the uncountable strings spindle up and down texturing smooth slow horns and an ecstatic bass line. Following quick interlude, “Sailing Out to Sea,” comes “Wee Lan (Little Orchid)” and suddenly we are introduced to layers of other string instruments which coalesce with horns and a walking bass-line. When track six rolls along, “The Sun in September,” we are stimulated by a meandering flute melody. Finally, when final track, “Finding My Way,” comes, the listener is seemingly convinced that they are listening to an old jazz standard from the days of Coltrane. Smooth as silk till the end with a drum solo to boot.

Every track is well-balanced and incredibly well-prepared. If you are new to jazz, don’t pass judgment with this album. If you are an avid fan of the genre, then you’ll respect Halsall’s work. For the recreational user, listening to it while chilling with a few friends or maybe to accompany a lonely art session you will not leave you disappointed. Overall, Fletcher Moss Park is non-obtrusive, non-offensive. And it’s a true pleaser to the ears.

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