Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fusion CD of the Month - "Matt Cappy: Church And State"

Fusion CD of the Month
Matt Cappy: "Church And State" (Ropeadope RAD-366)
Rating: **** (music performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Matt Cappy
Engineers: Steve McKie, Tim Sonnefeld, David Ivory, Doug Raus, Ryan Moys, Kenyatta "Kelo" Saunders, Randy Bowland, John Anthony and Jim Bottari
Mixing: Steve McKie, Phil Nicolo, David Ivory, Tim Sonnefeld, John Anthony and Reid Shippen
Mastered by Andrew Mendelson @ Georgetown Masters (Nashville, TN)
Photos & Art Direction: Gene Bradford
Design: Niko Marks

Featuring: Matt Cappy (trumpet & flugelhorn), Eric Wortham, Junius Bervine and Monty Reynolds (Fender Rhodes), James Poyser (Farfisa and clavinet), Corey Bernhard (synths), Yuki Hirano (keyboards & synths), Omar Edwards (synth and organ), Anthony Tidd, Dwayne Moore (electric bass), Adam Blackstone (acoustic bass), Mario Crew, Steve McKie and Dan Monahan (drums), Leonard Doc Gibbs, Paulo Stagnaro and Pablo Batista (percussion), Clay Sears (guitar), Mike Burton (alto sax), Lamont Caldwell (tenor sax), Aaron Goode (trombone), Damon Bryson (tuba), Stephen Costello and Marsha Ambrosius (vocals), Chill Moody (rap), Anja Wood (cello), Jonathan Dinklage (violin & viola), Pete Donovan (arco bass), Lars Halle (string arrangements)
If you're anywhere near East Philly you know the name Matt Cappy. If you've seen Jill Scott, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, The Mavericks - you've probably seen Matt Cappy. If you've heard Michael Jackson's "Invincible," you've heard Matt Cappy. And that's just a few of the credits. 

Now the world gets to hear Matt's debut album, "Church And State," an impressive beginning for a solo career, with a diverse range of experiences and styles that tell the story of the man. Cappy loves CTI and Freddie Hubbard (specially his "Straight Life" album), so you'll identify traces of Creed Taylor's best fusion productions (with lots of Rhodes!) as well as Hubbard's passion for musical adventure. [The list of his favorite trumpeters also include Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval and Wallace Roney.]

Cappy smartly avoids prejudice and transcends all boundaries in a joyful album full of funkyfied tunes, with intoxicating grooves and perfectly articulated trumpet solos that also display a flawless technique and a gorgeously clear tone that reminds me of my much missed friend Lew Soloff.

The title track "Church and State" is a smashing hip-hop featuring rapper Chill Moody with muted trumpet, tuba and scratch. Other highlights: "East Philly" (that evokes memories of the Brecker Brothers in the "Detente" era, with Justin Gilbert on organ), the latin-tinged "Phoenix" (featuring drummer Mario Crew), the "marching-dance" opus "Rose Lane" with solos by tenor player Lamont Caldwell and trombonist Aaron Goode, and the smooth melody "Eight Five Six" where Bob James meets Chuck Mangione.

And the unveiling continues with appearances from Marsha Ambrosius, Stephen Costello, Steve Mckie, and many more. Along with jazz funk tracks, we hear intriguing performances of such classical pieces as Gounod's "Ave Maria" in a quasi-samba tempo (other jazz fusion artists as Deodato and Phil Upchurch have recorded Schubert's "Ave Maria"), Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" (the haunting aria from the final act of his Turandot opera) and "Amazing Grace," the Christian hymn originally published in 1779 (!) with words by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton to which Edwin Othello Excell added the most famous melody, popularized by Mahalia Jackson in the 1940's.

Cappy's talent has taken him around the world, into network TV studios, concert halls and clubs, performing and recording with musical giants like Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Earth, Wind and Fire. The recognition now comes in the form of a very busy schedule.

When he’s not on the road, the hard-working New Jersey native stays busy with gigs and recording sessions in NYC and Philadelphia, particularly in the “Neo-Soul” R&B scene centered out of Larry Gold’s The Studio. Matt’s reputation as a soulful trumpet player has led to touring, performing and cutting tracks with Grammy-winning acts such as Jill Scott, the Roots and gospel superstar Kirk Franklin as well as other recording sessions with Musiq Soulchild, Wyclef Jean, Floetry, Jaheim, Faith Evans, Kindred, Vikter Duplaix, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, Gerald Veasley, Bubba Sparxx, Marah, K’Naan, Slo-Mo, John-Train and many more. But now it's time for Matt Cappy, the leader!

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