Here’s a quartet album we did on Origin Records. We recorded it in 1999 and released it in 2005. You can download this for free by clicking on the album cover below.
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Matt Otto, “Red”
Origin 82445 click cover to download album zip file
For his 5th recording as a leader, Los Angeles-based saxophonist Matt Otto teams up with old friends from his years spent in New York to explore a set of 8 originals. Now a regular in Los Angeles clubs, he can be seen there and touring the west coast with Anthony Wilson & Alan Pasqua, and around the country with his own quartet. In the tradition of Wayne Shorter, Joe Lovano, and Joe Henderson, Otto’s close musical relationship with his bandmates allows for music of depth and clarity.
1. CLASS STRUGGLE 9.13
2. WORK DAY 10.15
3. FER 8.40
4. BROTHER JIM 8.42
5. FORCES AND RELATIONS (BASS INTRO) 4.33
6. FORCES AND RELATIONS 11.02
7. RED 8.35
8. LE MORT 7.06
MATT OTTO – tenor saxophone
GREG TOUHEY – guitar
QASIM NAQVI – drums
DANTON BOLLER – bass
Produced by DAVID J. CARPENTER, Big As Records and MATT OTTO
Recorded live, December 15-17, 1999 at BIG AS Recording Studio, Anaheim, California
Engineered by DAVID J. CARPENTER
Mastering engineer: ALEX SALTZ
Photographer: LAURA CROSTA
Art Designer: BRIAN TORTORA
Layout & design: JOHN BISHOP
by Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
Saxophonist Matt Otto is Los Angeles-based these days, but for his fifth CD, Red, he got together with some musical running mates from his time in New York: guitarist Greg Toughy, drummer Qasim Naqvi, and bassist Danton Boller. Considering its standard jazz lineup of tenor sax and a rhythm section, the band has crafted quite an original sound.The set of eight Otto orignals sustains a hauntingly restrained mood from start to finish, churning along in a cool fluid simmer that rises at times toward a slow boil, without ever quite doing so. And that dyamic works very well in this case. The sound, the blend of tenor sax and guitar, the gentle insistence of the bass/drums has a forlorn, restrained midtempo beauty that translates to an insideously mesmerizing listening experience. It’s as if Otto and company have seized upon a series of relatively simple musical ideas and driven themselves deeply into them with a smoldering, frictionless group equilibrium.Otto’s tone has a round, ringing quality, and I get the feeling that on this outing the saxophonist may have been influenced by the trio put togther by bassist Jeff Johnson with sax man Hans Teuber and drummer Tad Britton on the excellent Near Earth (Origin Records, ’04). While it manifests a different collective personality than Near Earth, Red has a similar feeling of tranquility and, also similarly, it enchants, compelling the listener into multiple spins.
by David Franklin, JazzTimes April 2006
If Paul Desmond was, as he proclaimed, the “world’s slowest alto player,” then Matt Otto may be the world’s quietest tenor man. On the eight originals that comprise Red, Otto’s dynamics rarely rise above the level of an intimate conversation. His delivery is so relaxed and subtle that even the intake of breath is sometimes audible. But although Otto doesn’t strut, he does quietly demonstrate an admirable control of his instrument and of chord progressions. And he is given to well-constructed melodic lines that develop organically as they outline a formal dramatic curve. Otto does play fast and high at times, but even then the sound level is subdued. His compositions are subtle as well, often based on simple melodic lines that may or may not involve a rubato tempo.Guitarist Greg Touhey is a compatible partner. His lovely, smooth tone compliments Otto’s approach, and he’s a thoughtful improviser who creates long, well-developed lines. Bassist Danton Boller and drummer Qasim Naqvi masterd the tasks of keeping the subtle time together and adding to the overall texture while maintaining the intimate dynamic level.
by Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
A fluent tenor saxophonist with a cool tone and a relaxed style, Matt Otto is able to glide over the most complex chord changes gracefully. For this pianoless quartet set with guitarist Greg Touhey, Otto creates cool jazz of the 21st century. The music is mostly quiet with its heat being just below the surface. Even “Class Struggle,” which is essentially “Giant Steps,” features Otto’s playing making it sound simple and laid-back. This subtle set, which features close interplay, is worth several close listens.
by Kevin Cox, Jazz Review
Tenor saxophonist Matt Otto’s latest release, Red, is an intriguing collection of 8 original compositions. Otto, now based in Los Angeles, is joined here by a trio of friends from his years on the New York scene. On this disc, Otto and his band have crafted a sound that is immediately enjoyable, and increasingly impressive with each subsequent listening. Mid-tempo grooves and pensive ballads, all of the songs share a certain haunting, understated sophistication, which characterizes this CD.Red opens with two mellow mid-tempo numbers, “Class Struggle” and “Work Day”, each highlighted by the soloing of Otto and guitarist Greg Touhey. Otto’s playing is tight and under control at all times ñ a boxer, not a puncher. And like a skilled boxer, he stays within himself, confidently bobbing and weaving melody through the steady rhythm, jabbing and dancing, soloing in flurries of notes. Otto has a more than capable sparring partner in Touhey, who shines throughout, and a tight rhythm section (Qasim Naqvi, Danton Boller) in his corner, pushing him forward. Otto and company then settle into two ballads, “Fer” and “Brother Jim.” On “Fer,” one of the CD’s best cuts, Otto lays out the soulful, breathy tone that has inspired comparisons to Stanley Turrentine. Following a rather ordinary “Brother Jim,” Otto and company turn it up a notch for the final three tracks. On standouts “Forces and Relations,” the beautifully melodic “Red” and “Le Mort,” Otto soars with Touhey close behind. Otto’s playing on these tracks, while still very much under control, is at it’s most expressive and unrestrained.