BE WITH ME comprises six standards and four compositions by Gordy, who also arranged the album. The album opens with Topsy,” written by Eddie Durham and made famous by Count Basie and Benny Goodman. Gordy’s arrangement was inspired by Oscar Peterson’s version of the tune that appeared on his Oscar Peterson Plays Count Basie recording. Gordy dedicates “You and the Night and the Music” to the late pianist Mulgrew Miller. The tune opens with a solo bass playing the verse followed by a brief solo on the drums and then followed by the horns playing in unison before each soloist gets their turn to improvise.
BE WITH ME was released on January 28, 2022 and is available everywhere.
“Matt Gordy’s new album, Be With Me is one of those albums where the players practice good taste and interplay and present music that hits a perfect balance. A great album for jazz fans, but because of its careful focus, it is also one of those albums that could appeal to those who don’t normally dig the jazz scene.” Music Archives
"The album opens with a delicious rendition of “Topsy.” This arrangement offers plenty of opportunities for Matt Gordy to shine on drums, but also features some excellent work by Alan Pasqua on piano, Ron Stout on trumpet, Jeff Ellwood on saxophone, and Ido Meshulam on trombone, with Chris Colangelo keeping everything moving just right on bass."
"Welcome to a new edition of the Neon Jazz interview series with Los Angeles-based Veteran Jazz Drummer, Percussionist, Arranger & Composer Matt Gordy. We had a good, long conversation on December 30, 2021 and covered his long life in jazz and his first album in 20 years, the 2022 CD release of Be With Me."
Joe Dimino, host of Neon Jazz
“Be With Me is a laudable sextet date on which everyone shines in turn, bolstered by handsome arrangements and an impressive choice of material… inspired timekeeping by Gordy.”
Jack Bowers, All About Jazz
“Swinging vibrantly between intensely percussive whirlwind cookers like the dashing “Topsy” and subtle and sensual but no less breathtaking original gems like the light funk “Camouflage” and the dreamy and beautiful, horn textured “Chloe.” All of these fresh compositional concepts are brought to sparkling life with players so intuitive with each other that it’s no surprise to learn most tracks were recorded in a few takes.”
JW Vibe by Jonathan Widran
“A wonderful album that I have often listened to with pleasure -- perfectly performed and cleverly arranged.”
“I very much enjoyed listening to this album and will happily add it to my collection. I like Matt Gordy as drummer, arranger, and composer. His playing is understated but just right for each of the tracks included on this album.”
“An album full of vivacious and versatile jazz… “Be With Me” (composed by Matt, with lyrics by Gregg Arthur) is one of the sweetest and most enchanting songs I’ve listened to (yet) in 2022. Most highly recommended!”
“A very fine recording: swinging, sophisticated, varied and most musical. Matt Gordy reminds his listeners that you can have respect for the past, but not be a prisoner of it.”
“An album with very good taste, with well-chosen, well-arranged and performed pieces.”
“Drummer Matt Gordy swings hard and with taste with his mix of standards and originals on this release. Drummers, like umpires, are best when you don’t notice them, and on this session, Gordy leads by setting the right background for the colorful portraits.”
“Entertaining and unique, Be With Me is a marvelous, tasteful session. The Matt Gordy Jazz Tonite Sextet’s Be With Me is a very well-done outing, just as immaculate, elegant and emphatic as you would expect from these stellar, experienced musicians.”
“’Topsy’ opens the listen with frisky drumming, quick bass lines and the soulful brass finding plenty of grooves, and “You And The Night And The Music” follows with carefully plucked bass alongside bright horns in the playful jazz climate. Swing and funk moments impress us, as does the more intimate areas of this exceptional effort.” Take Effect by Tom Haugen
Drummer Matt Gordy swings hard and with taste with his mix of standards and originals on this release. He’s joined together with Jeff Ellwood/ts-ss, Chris Colangelo/b, Ido Meshulam/tb ,Alan Pasqua/p, Ron Stout/tp-fh and Sherry Williams/voc.
Williams gets soulful on an upbeat read of the Boomer hit “Sunny” while pretty in a trio setting with a deft Gordy on “Be With Me”. The horns are hopping on the swing classic “Topsy” and the team gives a rapid pulse on the bopping “Spring Ahead” . Meshulam strusts through “Soul Eyes” and Ellwood is mellow with Stout on “Chloe”. Drummers, like umpires, are best when you don’t notice them, and on this session, Gordy leads by setting the right background for the colorful portraits.
Matt Gordy is an elegant drummer whose subtle contributions perfectly complement the needs of his ensemble both with sticks and brushes. Musically he has travelled a long and winding road which includes performances with Aaron Copland, Pierre Boulez, Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Pops. His impressive resumé also features artists such as Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra Jnr., Tony Bennett, Brian Wilson and Mose Allison.
The drummer/composer/arranger Matt Gordy brings some exceptional help with him here, where this 2nd album as leader has the Jazz Tonite Sextet helping him flesh out 6 standards and 4 originals.
“Topsy” opens the listen with frisky drumming, quick bass lines and the soulful brass finding plenty of grooves, and “You And The Night And The Music” follows with carefully plucked bass alongside bright horns in the playful jazz climate.
“Chloe” lands in the middle and emits much beauty in a sublime delivery of warmth, while the title track showcases Sherry Williams’ expressive singing amid plenty of gorgeous balladry. “Soul Eyes”, one of the album’s best, then uses the horns, drums, and keys strategically in a timeless jazz demeanor.
“Wheatland” arrives near the end and moves with plenty of emotion and grace, and “Sunny” exits the listen upbeat and stylish, where the poetic singing pairs well with the textured musicianship.
Chris Colangelo plays bass, Ido Meshulam handles trombone, Alan Pasqua delivers keys, Jeff Ellwood brings his sax and Ron Stout’s trumpet and flugelhorn sure do complement Gordy’s impressive drumming and Williams’ sparing but effective singing, as swing and funk moments impress us, as does the more intimate areas of this exceptional effort.
My last CD, Eclipse, was from a live recording at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA. That was from 2000. So it’s been awhile for this new project. I wanted to use both originals and some standards with my own twist of arrangements. For tunes like You and the Night and the Music, Soul Eyes, Wheatland I took transcribed iconic solos and arranged them for the horns, mostly in unison. Spring Ahead is a contrafact of Spain by Chick Corea. Be With Me is based on Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You. I had been playing with Ron Stout, Ido Meshulam and Chris Colangelo for about 7-8 years. Alan Pasqua I have known for 50 years since we attended NEC together. Alan suggested Jeff Ellwood which was a great fit. Sherry Williams and I have worked together for the past 12 years,- an interview with me said Matt Gordy.
http://jazzbluesnews.com November 14, 2022
be with me
On BE WITH ME, Gordy is joined by ALAN PASQUA (piano), CHRIS COLANGELO (upright and electric bass), IDO MESHULAM (trombone and valve trombone), JEFF ELLWOOD (sax), RON STOUT (trumpet and flugelhorn), and vocalist SHERRY WILLIAMS. The album comprises six standards and four compositions by Gordy.
“Camouflage,” one of Gordy’s originals, has a swing/funk groove. “Spring Ahead,” which Gordy dedicates to Chick Corea, is a contra-fact based on the late pianist’s classic composition “Spain.” Gordy wrote “Chloe” for his granddaughter’s 10th birthday. Gordy worked with Joni Mitchell in Boston on her Both Sides Now tour in 2001, and he composed the title track, “Be With Me,” based on the chord changes to “A Case of You” from Mitchell’s Blue album. The song features vocalist Sherry Williams singing lyrics written by Gordy’s good friend Gregg Arthur.
Gordy dedicates Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” to McCoy Tyner. It was inspired by Tyner’s version on John Coltrane’s 1962 release, Coltrane. Gordy studied piano with Boston educator Charlie Banacos. Gordy used techniques that Banacos taught him on “My Shining Hour.” Oscar Peterson’s “Wheatland” is from his Canadiana Suite. Gordy re-imagines Peterson’s solo as short fragments that became a shout chorus for the horns. Gordy closes the album with the pop classic “Sunny,” written in 1963. The song again features vocalist Williams, whose performance on the tune Gordy says, “sounds like Sade meets Aretha.”
Matt Gordy is one of the finest drummers in the country. He has honed his skills by playing across genres in some of the highest profile, most technically and artistically demanding venues and settings in the U.S. and around the world. Joined by his stellar musical compatriots, BE WITH ME is an exciting presentation of jazz playing and arranging at its best.