Releasing a debut EP is not small task. But releasing two simultaneous albums of entirely original music, with two different lineups, as a debut is basically unheard-of! Yet for guitarist and composer Matthew Yeakley, it's an almost effortlessly bold entrance into the world of recorded jazz.
Over the last few years, Yeakley has made a name and carved a niche for himself as one of Los Angeles' most active jazz guitarists and a champion of the communal cultural relevance of jazz tradition. Hosting late-night jams on a weekly basis in venues that had previously never presented music, he's opened up a thriving world of after-hours music making and listenership in downtown Los Angeles that the people both needed and have truly embraced. Performing consistently with a literal "who's who" roster of jazz musicians in LA, he's become a total fixture on the scene.
With the debut of Clean Numbers and Dirty Words he takes his leadership a step further, and provides us with two full albums of beautiful, tuneful writing - these tunes could well become standards in the LA scene, if not the wider jazz world. Enlisting a powerhouse rhythm section of LA mainstay pianist Matt Politano, bassist Cooper Appelt, and fiery drummer Aaron MacLendon for both albums, Yeakley provides us with a consistent core of absolutely slamming rhythm and burning soloists. On Clean Numbers he features one LA's premiere saxophonists, Zane Musa, dubbed a "fire-breathing dragon" by tireless music enthusiast, concert-goer, and Orenda Records subscriber, Don Edmonson. On Dirty Words he features three younger faces on the LA scene: vocalists Jesse Palter, and Gina Saputo grace two of the tunes, and rising star trumpeter Mike Cottone, whose lyricism and explosiveness flavor the whole program.
With this formidable cast of characters, collectively called "The Matthew Yeakley Group," the leader has given us nearly two hours of masterful modern original jazz, accessible to listeners of any persuasion. The virtuosity and fire present across this entire collection is astounding, and the melodious nature of the writing is infectious. But it's perhaps the honesty apparent in the musicianship that truly defines this music - in Yeakley's own words:
"When you hear great artists they are giving you themselves openly and honestly without filter, at least that's how I choose to view it...Honesty is the goal of this group, from composition to performance we are here to give you an honest look at who we are, and what our art is."
With such a refined approach to music, and a genuine approach making art, the Matthew Yeakley group has really created something special. As debuts go, this pair of albums is a total knockout, and bodes extremely well for both Matthew Yeakley's pluming career, and the continued vibrancy of exciting music echoing from the midnight trenches of the City of Angels."
— Daniel Rosenboom, founder of Orenda Records
Clean Numbers and Dirty Words are now available in the Orenda Records Store!