from www.goodtimesmag.com – December 12, 2006 by Syl Nathan
Matt Fogg is clearly one of the region’s preeminent musicians. It appears he can play anything – jazz, blues, swing, pop, you name it. Once again, he displays his varied musicianship, sharp production skills, and incredible keyboard acumen on this recently released group CD, which is quite different from his previous albums.
Fogg has set the bar quite high for himself; nothing he ever does will top the live performance document he issued with Nicole Hajj, Live At The Azure Café, the overall best CD released in Maine last year. However, this group, featuring Fogg on various keyboards, vocalist Cheri Gaudet Grimmett, guitarist Scott Morgan, bassist Andy Rice, and percussionist Shawn Boissonneault, comes darn close. No one should ever tar New England as an “unsophisticated” music area – not with such vibrant and original jazz music such as this coming from within its borders.
The album of mostly originals veers into pop at times, but it’s amazing in that many of the tunes are of such high quality that they could become standards. The amazing “Love/Hate Relationship” merges a clever lyric and an out of this world chord progression to challenge the listener without becoming overwhelming. “Bounce,” “Blues For Steve,” and “Huntin’” continue to forge Fogg’s rep as an outstanding composer, particularly of instrumentals. And throughout, Grimmett’s vocals charm, tease, and cajole in perfect harmony with the mood of each piece. Add to that Morgan’s fluid, expressive guitar, and it’s a complete and varied package that pleases the ears like few other local releases. Stunning.
We don’t want to lay on the hype too thick; it suffices to say that every project puts his attention to is pure gold in terms of artistic achievement. Here’s hoping he and his compatriots get the recognition they deserve for being among the east coast’s jazz elite. Written from the perspective of a New Yorker (where this review was written), Morgan Fogg & Grimmett are Blue Note bait. C’mon down; we could use more great jazz in these parts, too.