Matt Booth’s Palindromes – 1.13.15 – Thunderbird Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA

Ben Opie – alto sax
John Petrucelli – tenor sax
Matt Booth – bass
Jeff Grubbs – bass
Dave Throckmorton – drums


Matt Booth
brought another incredible version of his jazz project Palindromes to the Thunderbird last night as part of the weekly Space Exchange series. Some of the more intriguing Space Exchange nights in recent memory have been Booth’s due largely to the revolving cast of Pittsburgh’s finest jazz musicians that he invites to be part of his group. Last night’s lineup consisted of two saxes, two basses, and a drummer.

There have been very few occasions when I’ve seen two bass players in a band, so I made sure to clear my schedule for this one. I sort of assumed that one of the basses would have been an electric and the other an acoustic upright. Booth and Jeff Grubbs, however, both played upright acoustic basses with each player utilizing a bow at various points in the set. There is something about a group of people making music with basically just wood and metal that is just so human and raw and awesome.

palindromes_1.13Booth’s quintet delivered two sets that included compositions by Ornette Coleman, Paul Motian, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane among others. The music was exploratory and captivating. The first set seemed slightly more composed overall whereas the second seemed slightly more free and adventurous. I’m not a huge fan of the more extreme and chaotic side of the free/avant jazz world. But I really enjoyed the place where these guys took the music last night. It was easy to get lost in sound which to me is a wonderful thing on a cold Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. I’d love to see this group play again and I know I’m not alone.

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