Matthew Whitaker - Connections
Cat. no: RMA016
Release Date: 20 Aug 2021
As more than a year of lockdown and collective isolation appears to be ending, Matthew Whitaker the twenty-year old keyboardist from New Jersey has released an exciting, expansive new recording entitled Connections.
Aptly titled for this pivotal moment, the sixteen-track collection is his third album and serves as both a bold declaration of Whitaker’s maturity as a player, composer and bandleader, and as a statement of musical connection and reconnection, as Whitaker points out.
“Connections is really about this idea of community, of musicians and family and everyone really, coming back together after being separated for so long,” Whitaker says.
“It’s about how grateful I am for the connections we have with each other musically and spiritually as well. More than my other albums, this one has music that was created in the studio, improv moments that happened live. A few of these songs I wrote during the pandemic so I’m happy we were able to record those, and I’m excited. This is more expansive than anything else I’ve done!”.
Connections features music composed both before and during (and in reaction to) the pandemic, and recorded mostly between March 2 and 4, 2021.
It includes a generous mix of original compositions with message-driven titles of uplift and instruction (“A New Day,” “Acceptance,” “It Will be Okay,” “Stop Fighting”), balanced with familiar melodies by Whitaker’s musical heroes, from Duke Ellington (“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”), Stevie Wonder (“Lately”), and gospel singer Richard Smallwood (“Trust Me”), to Duke Pearson (“Jeannine”), Chick Corea (“Spain”), and Thelonious Monk (“Bye-Ya”) this last one a sparkling, standout duet with pianist Jon Batiste.
Tracks: Journey Uptown / A New Day / Bye-Ya (ft. Jon Batiste) / Spain / Connections / Stop Fighting / Lately (Stevie Wonder cover) / I’m Sorry / Jeannine / Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (ft. Regina Carter) / Ble Rondo a la Turk / Trust Me / It Will Be Okay / Garden Wall / Acceptance / His Eye is on the Sparrow