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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by Rafiq for Jazz Speaks

Photo by Rafiq for Jazz Speaks

Bassist Matt Brewer is a frequent presence on The Jazz Gallery stage, both as a bandleader and a sideman. In 2012 he was one of four bassists selected for the Gallery’s “Leading from the Bass” Residency Commission series, where he premiered pieces written for sextet. (You can read our posts about Brewer’s 2012 residency, and his unique approach to composition, here.) He last appeared at the Gallery as recently as July 18th, playing with Roman Filiu, one of this year’s resident composers/saxophonists, and on Thursday, August 21st, he will be featured in the first of two trios that pianist Aaron Parks is bringing to the Gallery. But first, Brewer will lead his own quintet this Friday, August 1st.

Brewer is one of the most in-demand modern jazz bassists in New York City. Since moving to New York in 2001, he’s built an impressive and enviable body of work. His recording credits include critically acclaimed albums by Shane Endsley, John Escreet, Steve Lehman, Greg Osby, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Antonio Sanchez, and he has performed with Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, and David Sánchez, among many others. He serves as a faculty member at The New School and at the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. In a respectable addition to an already packed resume, he placed third in the Thelonious Monk International Bass Competition in 2009.

Though he does not have a recording credit as a bandleader, Brewer can frequently be heard headlining his own quintet (he’s downsized his group since 2012), and we’re hoping that he’s planning on cutting an album soon. On Friday, he will be joined by Greg Osby on alto saxophone, Dayna Stephens on tenor saxophone, Lage Lund on guitar, and Craig Weinrib on drums. Though he often changes his supporting cast, Brewer always chooses musicians with whom he has deep roots. As well as being veterans of his quintet, Stephens and Weinrib played last month alongside Brewer in Filiu’s band. Lund and Brewer are regular presences in each other’s groups. And the much-lauded Osby was one of Brewer’s first employers after the young bassist left Julliard, having completed only two years there. This last connection should make for an especially exciting rapport.

It’s possible that on Friday we’ll hear some of the sextet pieces written during Brewer’s 2012 residency, adapted for this ensemble. Regardless of the provenance of the compositions, the music will undoubtedly be fresh, as Brewer’s driving intellect and keen judgment are among his most valued assets.

The Matt Brewer Quintet performs this Friday, August 1st, 2014, at The Jazz Gallery. The band features Brewer on bass, Greg Osby on alto saxophone, Dayna Stephens on tenor saxophone, Lage Lund on guitar, and Craig Weinrib on drums. Sets are at 9 and 11 pm. $22 general admission, $10 for Members, and free for SummerPass HoldersPurchase tickets here.