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Photo by JulieMallozzi

Driff Records 1501, 2015

Jorrit Dijkstra, alto saxophone, lyricon, analog synth
Pandelis Karayorgis, piano
Nate McBride, bass
Curt Newton, drums

available on Bandcamp

Matchbox page


1 Fourteen Squares (Dijkstra) 3:27
2 Drooze (Dijkstra) 5:58
3 Entanglement (Karayorgis) 4:04
4 Shards (Karayorgis) 6:03
5 Constellation (Karayorgis) 4:47
6 The Unheard (Karayorgis) 5:36
7 Outward On Pleasant Spheres (Karayorgis) 5:03
8 Start (Karayorgis) 5:26
9 All For It (Dijkstra) 5:40
10 Cluster Waltz (Dijkstra) 3:17


Total time 49.16






Matchbox is a Boston-based quartet with long and deep collaborative roots. McBride and Newton developed their synergy as a rhythm section with the Joe Morris Trio and Ken Vandermark’s Tripleplay. Later they joined Karayorgis on piano and Fender Rhodes to form mi3, a trio with releases on Clean Feed and Hat Art. After Nate McBride’s move back to Boston from Chicago in 2012 the Matchbox quartet formed and started developing a new, distinctive sound, featuring Dijkstra’s lyricon and analog electronics. The strong melodic, rhythmic, and structural elements presented in Karayorgis’s and Dijkstra’s tunes function like anchors, providing plenty of space for open improvisations and interaction. The front cover of this CD is a collage by Barbara Weissberger.

From up there in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we get more of the worthy musical semaphores and full­phores of a modern avant jazz kind that altoist Jorrit Dijkstra and pianist Pandelis Karayorgis have been supplying us with on their Driff label.

The one on tap for consideration today is a nicely expressive quartet date­­Jorrit, Pandelis, plus Nate McBride on bass and Curt Newton on drums. The album is called Matchbox (Driff 1501).
This is a quartet that knows where it is going. The compositions, alternately by Dijkstra and Karayorgis, extend the legacy of Monk, Mingus and Dolphy with originality and both swinging and free­flowing architectonics of a pronouncedly geo­angular penchant. Every piece has a pronounced feel to it which the improvisations expand and capture in the jazz moment.

Jorrit opens up the color possibilities with the lyricon and a synth, and that sounds as right as the all­acoustic numbers. Curt Newton drums with smarts, swing and color. Nate McBride shows his formidable flexibility and ability to get where he needs to to make everything work. Then of course Jorrit and Pandelis each are artistic personages with their own special aural footprint, originals in full bloom here.

In the ten numbers featured on Matchbox we get an abundance of inspired avant jazz, some of the best around these days. There is an easy familiarity of the four that comes with a long period of interaction and so we get a chance to hear a seasoned foursome that can anticipate what everybody is doing and follow suit with their own corresponding conversational voice.

This one is a definite treat to hear. Outstanding quartectonics!

Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Music Review, 4/1/2016 link

**** Labelmates Jorrit Dijkstra and Pandelis Karayorgis, who have been at the helm of Driff Records for a few years now, delight in creating structured improvisations that are challenging and demanding while still retaining a strong melodic foundation.  In this respect they clearly owe a good deal to the inspiration of artists like Steve Lacy, to whom they’ve paid tribute on three records now with the group the Whammies (on their most recent release, see Stefan Wood’sreview).  Here they are joined by bassist Nate McBride and drummer Curt Newton, both of whom Karayorgis has worked with extensively, and as a rhythm section open to fluidity while still remaining well-grounded in pulse and meter, they’re hard to top.  The results are impressive, with ten enjoyable vehicles for post-bop exploration.

Dijkstra is a dynamic voice on alto sax, as he amply demonstrates on the record’s hard-charging opener, “Fourteen Squares,” or later on the record, with “All For It,” offering impassioned flurries of notes and incisive rhythmic conversation with Karayorgis.  He also brings a sensitive temper to some of the less aggressive tracks, including the loping “Drooze,” constructed around an almost danceable melody that Dijkstra establishes with grace and subtlety.  Somewhat less effective are the tracks on which he plays something called a “lyricon,” an electronic wind synthesizer that Dijkstra has been introducing into his music for some time—but here it tends more to distract than to complement the music.  I could only detect it on a few of the tracks, however, and for the majority of the album Dijkstra sticks to the conventional alto, on which he definitely shines.

Pianist Karayorgis’s debt to Monk has long been noted, and it’s clearly evident here in his quirky melodic and off-center rhythmic imagination.  But he’s also got a much more powerfully percussive side to his playing—a bit of Cecil Taylor shines through on the suitably named “Entanglement,” and it’s a lot of fun to hear him roam the piano with cascading clusters of notes, as Dijkstra joins in enthusiastically, contributing to the surging power of the track.

As for McBride and Newton, they bear out the advantages of their frequent collaborations, as they are highly skilled in supporting these intricate compositions and keeping things just under control, even during the more adventurous moments on the record.  This release is a very fine one, and more evidence that Driff is becoming a strong conduit for a terrific partnership of like-minded musicians.

Troy Dostert, The Free Jazz Collective, 2/8/2016 link

Matchbox is both the group name and the title of the CD. The program of 10 tracks is divided into 6 Karayorgis compositions and 4 by Dijkstra. Karayorgis’ compositions often have a zig-zag line conducive to having more than one improvising at a time on an implied and buoyant line. Dijkstra’s writing tends to be avant, his playing reflects some of Ornette Coleman’s energy and an even free-er drift from a rhythmic line. The music is a pleasure, even the synth is used in moderation on this recording. Free jazz with structure.
Robert Rusch, Cadence/Papatamus, July 2016

Matchbox bestaat naast Jorrit Dijkstra uit pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, waar Dijkstra regelmatig mee samenwerkt en waar hij ook zijn platenlabel Driff Records mee bestiert, en ritmetandem Nate McBride (bas) en Curt Newton (drums), die elkaar ook reeds uitentreuren kennen via samenwerkingen met Joe Morris en Ken Vandermark. Met 'Fourteen Squares', dat stamt van het in 2014 verschenen album 'Music For Reeds And Electronics, Oakland', start het album op energieke en onstuimige wijze met gerichte uitbarstingen, gevolgd door korte stiltemomenten. In 'Entanglement', een stuk van Karayorgis waarvoor hij zich door Ornette Coleman liet inspireren, maken de heren het nog een fractie bonter. Vooral Dijkstra's spel schiet hier alle kanten op. En zo ruig als het er op 'Entanglement' aan toe gaat, zo beheerst klinkt het kwartet in 'Shards', waarbij Dijkstra er duidelijk genoegen in schept om Karayorgis' intieme pianospel te doorkruisen met de meest vreemdsoortige elektronische geluiden. 'Outward On Pleasant Spheres', gebaseerd op een gedicht van Sun Ra, is ook meer dan de moeite waard. Het aantrekkelijke ritme, met belangrijke rollen voor McBride en Newton, en het swingende pianospel maken meebewegen hier tot een must. Intussen zorgt Dijkstra met zijn elektronica andermaal voor het onvoorspelbare element. 
Draai om je oren, Ben Taffijn, Jul 15 2017

A pérola deste conjunto de discos é outra parceria de Jorrit Dijkstra e Pandelis Karayorgis, num quarteto bostoniano com Nate McBride e Curt Newton – os mesmos que estão com o pianista nos mi3 e que integram o Joe Morris Trio e os Tripleplay de Ken Vandermark. Diferente é, no entanto, a música praticada, surgindo até com uma curiosa “patine” hard bop. A escrita pode ser algo cubista, mas poucas vezes terá o saxofonista de Amesterdão mergulhado tanto na linguagem específica do jazz, e com tão boas consequências.
Rui Eduardo Paes, Jazz.pt, 2016, link




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