On Crash, their thrilling debut CD, MATT AND THE CITY LIMITS are led by 20-year old sax-touting vocalist Matt Berman through a fearless take on an eclectic range of songs, and in doing so, deliver a fresh and ambitiously ‘saxy’ jazz-pop album for a new generation.
Set for February 21st digital release in the U.S. on Sweet Sounds Music via Island/Def Jam, Crash brings the well-honed jazz chops of this exciting young New York City-based singer-songwriter/alto saxophonist/composer to adult alternative pop-rock with elements of soul, funk, hip-hop and folk. Berman also has a promising acting career in TV and film with recent and upcoming roles in Boardwalk Empire and Gossip Girl.
Crash manages to introduce pop-rock influences such as John Mayer, Counting Crows, Coldplay and Steely Dan in an effort to bring what Berman calls “the jazz language” to the mainstream. Surrounded by his cohesive quintet – tenor saxophonist Ian Buss, guitarist/banjo player Rick Shipiro, pianist Dinos San Pedro, bassist Max Esquivel and drummer Amir Williams – Berman tackles songs of romantic optimism and strength, in times both good and bad, from the bounding joy of “That Girl” to the delicate compassionate of the title track.
Berman wrote, co-produced and arranged most of the songs on Crash, the exceptions being “On the Other Side” (written by Dan Layus of Augustana and co-arranged with San Pedro) and Sam Cooke’s definitive soul standard, “Bring It On Home to Me,” the album’s lone instrumental, featuring Berman’s down-home swinging arrangement.
Already, Berman has played or studied with some of the greats in jazz, proving his chops before the likes of Herbie Hancock, Slide Hampton, Reggie Workman, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Watson, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Sanábria and Vincent Herring at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and Manhattan’s New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Sanábria, Grammy-nominated head of the Afro-Cuban band at the New School, says Berman, who first picked up the sax at age 7, is among a crop of young players keeping the tradition of Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderly alive while forging new ground in the 21st century.
“The legacy of the alto sax,” says Sanabria, “is well in hand with Matt Berman.”
“CRASH” Track Listing:
1. That Girl
3. Keep Love
4. Beauty Is What Blind Eyes Can See
6. On the Other Side
7. Bring It On Home to Me