Matt Flinner Quartet
Walking on the Moon
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2003, Volume 10, #4
Written by John Metzger
If Phish’s Trey Anastasio joined the David Grisman Quintet, it might sound an awful lot like Matt Flinner’s latest project Walking on the Moon. A talented mandolin player who has performed with the likes of Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, and Stuart Duncan, Flinner brings an adventurous streak to this eclectic batch of songs. He and his band offer a fresh take on Duke Ellington’s Caravan by giving it a funky undercurrent courtesy of The Meters’ Cissy Strut. Likewise, the title track — a cover of the reggae-infused song by The Police — is given a jazzy hue that suits it beautifully. The other eight tunes on the album are all originals, and each — from the groovy Men from Boise to the delicate Ice Queen — expertly pushes upon and across the boundaries that typically divide jazz, bluegrass, funk, and rock.
For certain, the bulk of Walking on the Moon might be a tad mellow for most jam band fans, but the interplay among the musicians is first-rate and far better than these folks are accustomed to hearing. Instead of mindless, disconnected jams, Flinner — much like his obvious idols the David Grisman Quintet and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones — holds a deft understanding of the jazz idiom, allowing both him and his accompanists to traverse each composition with stylishly fluid elegance. These days, there are countless bands that draw from the same wellspring of styles, but few are able to do so with quite the mind-numbing dexterity or the plethora of musical ideas that the Matt Flinner Quartet is able to put forward.
Walking on the Moon is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box