Uhm, ... what was Mathews thinking here?
Jazzcat | Genoa, Italy Italy | 07/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I tried for a lot of time to find this record, mainly for its cool fifties cover in the "Everybody likes Hampton Hawes" - "Andre' Previn King Size" animal cartoon style, ... it's not common and now it is even out of print so it is still harder to find, but finally I made it. I was looking for it also for collector's reasons: it is probably the only Joe Puma date under his own leadership in the fifties. It is an unusual date for sure. There' s not the common combo with piano to support the soloist, but bass, drums and Mr. Mat Mathews accordion (in essence it is a trio date apart for two added bonus tunes recorded a year earlier with tenor, soprano saxes and flute, Steve Lacy, Tom Stewart, Herbie Mann... two very nice tunes I have to say, better than the trio ones in the end). So the sound it is a bit unusual for a jazz date of the period. I love the sound of the accordion ... but here I don't know, here there are moments where it sounds a little like your grandparent's accordion when he plays it in the evening on the porch! Take "Sportin' with Morton" for example, or in the blues "Wild Kitten"... it seems almost country! Mat Mathews here, he's in his Kidding vein. He plays ideas that sometimes has nothing to do with Jazz of the period, fifties bop jazz. But then in "But not for me" for example he's again playing very well contributing to some very nice jazz moments. But in the end it is very clear that Mr Mathews is the responsible for the awkward sound of the music. The added tunes that were recorded a year earlier without him, are a lot better than the trio date with him. So, I don't know. The more I listen to this record the more awkward it seems to me and I think Mathews is the main responsible for my doubts. It's not a bad session. Joe plays well his single line ideas and did some very nice solo intros like in "Rosalie Ann", but the overall sound (mainly due to Mr. Mathews un-jazz ideas), it's not that satisfying. I'd rate this one three stars. It's a little bit different session and you may like it or not. I don't know it yet,... maybe after some more listening sessions I'll throw it out of the window or I'll treasure it. Or I'll send it to Mr Mathews via Express Air Mail. Who knows!?!?"