The Matt Flinner Trio’s Music du Jour is another in a string of strong new releases this year from Alison Brown’s Compass Records. Flinner is one of the country’s top mandolin players, heard in recent years with David Grier and super bassist Todd Phillips as well as with Missy Raines and the New Hip.
In 2006, Flinner’s trio (Finner on mandolin, Eric Thorin on bass, and Ross Martin on guitar) began to perform what they termed “Music du Jour” tours. Each band member agreed to write new music to be performed that evening. The only rule: the music be started, completed, and performed all in one day. I’ll let the website Jazz News pick it up from there:
The players continued with their daily musical challenge, giving birth to the concept of the “Music du Jour” tours and later the Music du Jour album (out now on Compass Records). Between Flinner, Ross, and Thorin, over sixty new tunes were composed during three western U.S. tours, and in December 2008 the trio committed the twelve best to record at the Compass Sound Studio. With Music du Jour the Matt Flinner Trio sets a new standard for the bluegrass trio sound and creative output.
This is a terrific album with great writing and strong musicianship. The personalities of the musicians come through in the different tunes. Flinner’s Inferno Reel, a nice traditional-sounding piece with a little jazzy twist, kicks off the CD. Thorin begins Stomp Hat with a bass figure that Flinner and Martin play over in contrasting but complementary lines. Martin writes beautiful tunes such as Cobalt that unfold on his guitar but can also produce Tell Me One More Time, a jazz piece where he and Flinner double some intricate lines at a fast clip.
If you like acoustic string music, bluegrass, Americana, or jazz, you’ll find something to enjoy on Music du Jour. Listen to a live version of Half Moondog on the video below and see if you don’t agree.
More to come…