This three-night AQ residency marks the return of New York-based drummer-composer Matt Slocum to his hometown. The St. Paul-born, western Wisconsin-raised Slocum last week released his second album, After the Storm, an elegant, thoroughly engaging showcase of modern jazz sophistication that should enhance his and his ensemble's reputation as a growing force in the jazz world. Slocum, pianist Gerald Clayton, and bassist Massimo Biolcati have been collaborating since their days at USC a decade ago, and their intuitive response to one another yields an especially creative cohesion. A keen melodicism in particular seems to flow from one instrument to another, even as Slocum's lithe, complexly textured rhythms swing mightily. Slocum's opening "Jacaranda" shimmers, the piano and bass unveiling brightly hued multi-faceted blossoms while the rhythms jostle them with gusts of constantly shifting intensity. "The Catalyst" is more driving, the trio exploring shadowy corners that evolve at odd angles. And Slocum's dramatic arrangement of Ravel's "La Vallee des Cloches" is alive with twisting intrigues that the band etches with dynamic flair.
Fridays, Saturdays, 9 p.m. Starts: Oct. 21. Continues through Oct. 22, 2011