These AQ dates mark the area debut of drummer and composer Matt Slocum as a bandleader. Born in St. Paul and raised in New Richmond, Wisconsin, Slocum studied with local drum stalwart Phil Hey in high school before going off to USC and furthering his education with the likes of Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua, John Clayton, and Shelly Berg. Subsequent session work on both coasts, and relocation to New York, led to the release last month of his debut recording, Portraits (Chandra). Slocum seems to have a fine touch on the skins, playing with pleasing melodicism, slithery sense of swing, and a keen attention to subtleties, which really shines through his mallet work on Billy Strayhorn's "Daydream." Also outstanding on that track is the smoky, soulful tenor sax of Walter Smith III, who'll be along at the AQ in addition to bassist Massimo Biolcati. The eight Slocum originals that round out the album display a refined, post-bop intelligence ranging from the lush romanticism of "For Alin" to the scintillating "Shadows." 18+.
Fridays, Saturdays, 9 p.m. Starts: Feb. 19. Continues through Feb. 20, 2010